Enhancing surface free energy and hydrophilicity through chemical modification of microstructured titanium implant surfaces

J Biomed Mater Res A. 2006 Feb;76(2):323-34. doi: 10.1002/jbm.a.30518.


Roughness-induced hydrophobicity, well-known from natural plant surfaces and intensively studied toward superhydrophobic surfaces, has currently been identified on microstructured titanium implant surfaces. Studies indicate that microstructuring by sandblasting and acid etching (SLA) enhances the osteogenic properties of titanium. The undesired initial hydrophobicity, however, presumably decelerates primary interactions with the aqueous biosystem. To improve the initial wettability and to retain SLA microstructure, a novel surface modification was tested. This modification differs from SLA by its preparation after acid etching, which was done under protective gas conditions following liquid instead of dry storage. We hypothesized that this modification should have increased wettability due to the prevention of contaminations that occurs during air contact. The main outcome of dynamic wettability measurements was that the novel modification shows increased surface free energy (SFE) and increased hydrophilicity with initial water contact angles of 0 degrees compared to 139.9 degrees for SLA. This hydrophilization was kept even after any drying. Reduced hydrocarbon contaminations were identified to play a possible role in altered surface thermodynamics. Such surfaces aim to retain the hydrophilicity and natural high surface energy of the Ti dioxide surface until surgical implants' insertion and are compared in this in vitro study with structural surface variants of titanium to compare roughness and chemically induced wettability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acids
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Prostheses and Implants*
  • Spectrum Analysis
  • Surface Properties
  • Thermodynamics
  • Titanium*
  • Wettability*
  • X-Rays


  • Acids
  • Titanium