On the possibility of silicon nitride as a ceramic for structural orthopaedic implants. Part I: processing, microstructure, mechanical properties, cytotoxicity

J Mater Sci Mater Med. 2008 Aug;19(8):2881-7. doi: 10.1007/s10856-008-3417-2. Epub 2008 Mar 18.


Notwithstanding the good combination of mechanical and tribological properties, the suitability of silicon nitride for application as prosthesis in bone reconstruction or in articular joints replacements is still controversial. This study aims to design and produce three different silicon nitride-based ceramics and to test the materials. In this Part I the microstructure and mechanical properties evidence outstanding characteristics and the cytotoxicity studies confirm that all the materials are extremely inert and biocompatible. In Part II, the wear performance and the wettability and chemical stability against different aqueous media and physiological solutions are investigated and discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Ceramics*
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Molecular Structure
  • Orthopedics*
  • Prostheses and Implants*
  • Silicon Compounds / chemistry*
  • Silicon Compounds / pharmacology


  • Silicon Compounds
  • silicon nitride