Evaluation of biodegradable Zn-1%Mg and Zn-1%Mg-0.5%Ca alloys for biomedical applications

J Mater Sci Mater Med. 2017 Sep 27;28(11):174. doi: 10.1007/s10856-017-5973-9.


Increasing interest in biodegradable metals (Mg, Fe, and Zn) as structural materials for orthopedic and cardiovascular applications mainly relates to their promising biocompatibility, mechanical properties and ability to self-remove. However, Mg alloys suffer from excessive corrosion rates associated with premature loss of mechanical integrity and gas embolism risks. Fe based alloys produce voluminous corrosion products that have a detrimental effect on neighboring cells and extracellular matrix. In contrast, Zn does not appear to exhibit a harmful mode of corrosion. Unfortunately, pure zinc possesses insufficient mechanical strength for biomedical structural applications. The present study aimed at examining the potential of two new zinc based alloys, Zn-1%Mg and Zn-1%Mg-0.5%Ca to serve as structural materials for biodegradable implants. This examination was carried out under in vitro conditions, including immersion testing, potentiodynamic polarization analysis, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), and stress corrosion cracking (SCC) assessments in terms of slow strain rate testing (SSRT). In order to assess the cytotoxicity of the tested alloys, cell viability was evaluated indirectly using Saos-2 cells. The results demonstrate that both zinc alloys can be considered as potential candidates for biodegradable implants, with a relative advantage to the Zn-1%Mg alloy in terms of its corrosion resistance and SCC performance.

MeSH terms

  • Absorbable Implants*
  • Alloys / chemistry*
  • Alloys / pharmacology
  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry*
  • Calcium / chemistry*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Corrosion
  • Humans
  • Magnesium / chemistry*
  • Materials Testing
  • Spectrometry, X-Ray Emission
  • X-Ray Diffraction
  • Zinc / chemistry*


  • Alloys
  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Calcium