Zirconium’s Biocompatibility and Medical Applications

Introduction

In the ever-evolving landscape of medical innovation, zirconium emerges as an unsung hero with unique biocompatibility. This article explores the profound impact of zirconium’s biocompatibility on the realm of medical applications. Hope that you can have a deeper understanding of zirconium’s properties and medical uses.

Zirconium’s Biocompatibility

Most importantly, zirconium has become an ideal choice in medical science for its remarkable biocompatibility. That is to say, zirconium can coexist with living tissues without triggering adverse reactions or causing harm.

Zirconium Foils

Zr also exhibits excellent corrosion resistance and a variety of impressive features.

  • Corrosion Resistance: Zirconium and its alloys exhibit great corrosion resistance. Such resistance prevents the material from degrading in the body’s corrosive environment. It also ensures the implant’s structural integrity over time.
  • Inertness: Zr does not with bodily fluids and tissues. This inertness reduces the risk of adverse reactions such as inflammation or rejection.
  • Low Allergic Risks: Besides, zirconium is less likely to cause allergic reactions compared to other metals.
  • Aesthetic Benefits: Zirconium products in dentistry offer aesthetic advantages. These products can mimic the natural appearance of teeth. They can provide patients with aesthetically pleasing dental restorations as well.
  • Versatile Processing: Zr’s versatility in processing allows for the fabrication of complex shapes and structures. This flexibility in manufacturing enables the creation of tailored implants that suit individual patient needs.

Medical Applications

Zirconium possesses remarkable biocompatibility, mechanical properties, and resistance to corrosion. Therefore, it has become a prime candidate for various medical applications.

Zirconium in Medical Implants

Medical Implants [1]
  1. Dental Implants:

The primary use of zirconium is in medical implants, especially in dental implants.

First, Zr stands out for corrosion resistance. Second, it does not have a metallic taste. These features make it an appealing alternative to traditional metal-based dental materials. Moreover, zirconium implants have a reduced risk of allergic reactions.

  1. Orthopedic Implants:

Beyond dentistry, zirconium-based orthopedic implants have also carved a niche.

This material reduces the risk of adverse reactions and facilitates better integration with bone tissues. This significantly improves patient outcomes in orthopedic surgeries. And it offers a sturdy yet biologically compatible solution for joint replacements and bone repairs.

Zirconium in Medical Instruments

Zirconium’s biocompatibility extends beyond implants to medical instruments and devices.

The Zirconium is non-reactive with body tissues. So it is an attractive choice for surgical instruments. Zirconium-based instruments offer durability and sterilization compatibility. Meanwhile, these products minimize the risks of tissue irritation or inflammation during medical procedures.

Exploring Biocompatible Zirconium Coatings

Innovations in biomedical engineering have led to the exploration of zirconium coatings on implants and medical devices. These coatings with biocompatibility serve as protective layers. Such coatings reduce wear and corrosion on implants while promoting better integration with surrounding tissues.

Zirconium’s Role in Biomedical Research

Zr plays a pivotal role in medical research and diagnostics as well. It serves as a contrast agent or imaging agent in medical imaging techniques, such as MRI or CT scans. Zirconium-based contrast agents offer enhanced imaging quality while ensuring minimal interference with the body’s physiological processes.

Conclusion

In a word, zirconium’s inherent biocompatibility unveils a world of possibilities in medical applications. Such applications range from implants to instruments and diagnostic tools. As research and innovation continue to unfold, with biocompatibility, zirconium is going to unveil safer, more durable, and more effective medical solutions.

Stanford Advanced Materials (SAM) is a leading supplier of top-grade zirconium rods, plates, powders, and other quality zirconium products. We also offer exceptional customer service and offer customized products. Send us an inquiry if you are interested.

 

 

Reference:

[1] D. M. K. (2014). 3D Printing in Medicine. https://www.sciencedirect.com/book/9780081007174/3d-printing-in-medicine

3 Alkaline Decomposition Methods for Preparation of Zirconium Sulfate

Zirconium and sulfuric acid can produce a variety of compounds, the most common ones being acidic zirconium sulfate and basic zirconium sulfate. Acidic zirconium sulfate, also known as zirconyl sulfuric acid, is widely used in industry, and its molecular formula is H2[ZrO(SO4)2]•3H2O or Zr(SO4)2•4H2O. The tetrahydrate of zirconium sulfate appears as hexagonal plate crystals, while the anhydrous form is a white powder. It is a main intermediate product of zirconium and can be used as a white leather tanning agent. The preparation of zirconium sulfate from zircon involves three steps: alkali decomposition, preparation of zirconium sulfate solution, and precipitation of acidic zirconium sulfate. This article focuses on explaining these three methods of alkali decomposition. Currently, there are three methods of alkali decomposition, namely the sodium hydroxide melting method, the sodium carbonate sintering method, and the lime sintering method.

Zirconium(IV) sulfate - Wikipedia

Sodium Hydroxide Fusion Method

The sodium hydroxide fusion method, also known as the alkali fusion method, involves adding zircon and sodium hydroxide to the reaction tank in a 1:1.3 ratio and reacting them at a temperature of 923-973K to form Na2ZrO3. The main reaction formula is ZrSO4+4NaOH=Na2ZrO3+Na2SiO3+2H2O, and the decomposition rate of zircon can reach about 99%. The alkali fusing material is then washed with water to remove soluble impurities such as excess alkali and sodium silicate. The resulting filter cake is sent for leaching to obtain a zirconium sulfate solution. The washing materials include sodium zirconate, sodium zirconium silicate, hydrated zirconia, and sodium titanate. The main features of this method are the low reaction temperature and the high decomposition rate of zirconium.

Sodium Carbonate Sintering Method.

Sodium carbonate sintering method, also known as the direct sintering method, involves putting zircon and sodium carbonate in a pan-type ball forming machine in a molar ratio of 1:3 to create pellets. The mixture is then sintered in a rotary kiln at 1373K, and the main reaction that takes place is:

ZrSiO4+3Na2CO3=Na2ZrO3+Na4SiO4+3CO2↑

After the firing process, the material is crushed and washed with water to eliminate soluble impurities such as sodium silicate. The resulting mixture is then filtered to obtain a filter cake, mainly comprising of sodium zirconate, which is later leached to produce a zirconium sulfate solution. Alternatively, zircon and sodium carbonate can be used in a molar ratio of 1:1.3. In this case, the primary sintering reaction is:

ZrSiO4+Na2CO3=Na2ZrSiO5+CO2↑

As observed from the reaction formula, the sintered product primarily consists of sodium silicon zirconate. The sintered product is then decomposed using sulfuric acid. During this process, zirconium produces zirconium sulfate and enters the solution, while silicon forms silicic acid, which can be effectively polymerized and removed during filtration. Although this method saves a significant amount of sodium carbonate, it consumes a considerable amount of acid and requires high reaction temperatures. The decomposition rate of zircon is approximately 95%.

Lime Sintering Method

The lime sintering method involves adding zircon and limestone (or chalk) in a molar ratio of 1:3, with an excess of 10% to 20% limestone. Then, calcium chloride with a mineral content of 5% is added, mixed evenly, and sent into a rotary kiln at a temperature of 1373-1473K for 4-5 hours. The decomposition rate of zircon is about 97%-98%. After sintering, the material is first washed with a cold solution containing 5% to 10% HCl to remove excess CaO, CaCl2, and most of Ca2SiO4. The generated colloidal silicic acid is also removed together with the solution. The resulting calcium zirconate is then leached with a solution containing 25% to 30% HCI at a temperature of 358-363K. Alternatively, sulfuric acid can be used for leaching. The biggest advantage of this method is that the decomposition agent is cheap and easy to obtain, but it has the disadvantage of high decomposition temperature and low decomposition rate.

Conclusion

In summary, zirconium sulfate is an important industrial material produced through alkali decomposition of zircon. The three primary methods of alkali decomposition are the sodium hydroxide fusion method, sodium carbonate sintering method, and lime sintering method. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages in terms of decomposition rate, reaction temperature, and cost of decomposition agents. Ultimately, the choice of method depends on the specific requirements of the production process.

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How to Prepare Zirconium Silicide Nanomaterials?

Introduction

Zirconium silicide is a steel gray orthorhombic shiny crystal. It is insoluble in water, mineral acids, and aqua regia, and soluble in hydrofluoric acid. Zirconium silicide is an excellent ceramic material with high hardness, high melting point, high electrical conductivity, high thermal conductivity, and excellent thermal shock resistance. Because of these advantages, it can be applied to structural materials or new engineering materials for high-temperature corrosive media.

Preparation

Zirconium silicide nanomaterial can be obtained by reacting a mixture of zirconium oxide powder, silicon powder and lithium in a proportioned amount at a high temperature in the absence of air. Specific steps are as follows:

(1) Add 5mmol zirconium dioxide, 5mmol silicon powder and 50mmol metallic lithium in a 20-milliliter stainless steel autoclave, then put the autoclave into an electric furnace.

2) Set the heating rate of the electric furnace to 10 °C per minute, and heat the electric furnace to 600 °C.

3) After the temperature was raised to 600°C, the temperature was maintained for 40 hours to ensure that the raw materials were fully reacted.

4) After the reaction was completed, naturally cool down the autoclave to room temperature, and then open the autoclave and take out the black deposit.

5) Wash the deposit with distilled water once, and then wash with dilute hydrochloric acid and absolute ethanol once respectively.

6) Filter the washed deposit, and then dry it in a vacuum drying oven at 60° C for 4 hours to obtain a zirconium silicide nanomaterial.

Zirconium Silicide Powder

The above reaction process is represented by the following equation:

ZrO2+Si+4Li=ZrSi+2Li2O

According to the quality of the prepared zirconium silicide nanomaterials and the quality of the used raw material zirconium dioxide, the method obtains that the yield of zirconium silicide is 85%.

Application

Zirconium silicide nanomaterial can be used to prepare a high-density ceramic matrix composite material: zirconium diboride-zirconium disilicide-tungsten carbide ceramic matrix composite material. This material is prepared from zirconium diboride powder, zirconium disilicide and tungsten carbide (purity >98.0%) using a two-step hot pressing sintering process. Wherein, the mass fraction of zirconium diboride powder is 75-90%, the mass fraction of zirconium disilicide is 10-15%, and the mass fraction of tungsten carbide is 0-10%. Adding a higher content of zirconium diboride to the ceramic matrix composite material is beneficial to improve the physicochemical properties of the composite material; adding this appropriate amount of zirconium disilicide to the ceramic matrix composite material can significantly reduce the sintering temperature for material preparation; the added tungsten carbide can promote anisotropic growth of grains inside the material.

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