Acta Materialia, Volume 60, Issues 6–7, April 2012, Pages 2746-2756
Michael Schinhammer, Christina M. Pecnik, Felix Rechberger, Anja C. Hänzi, Jorg F. Loffler, Peter J. Uggowitzer
Laboratory of Metal Physics and Technology, Department of Materials, ETH Zurich, 8093 Zurich, Switzerland
In this study the interplay between recrystallization and precipitation in a biodegradable TWIP (twinning-induced plasticity) steel developed for use in temporary implants was investigated. Microstructural and mechanical properties were studied and a thermomechanical treatment was designed with the aim of achieving an overall performance suitable for the intended application as temporary implant material. The formation of Pd-rich precipitates in the cold-worked state was found to considerably retard recrystallization during an annealing treatment. The formation, morphology and interaction with dislocations of these precipitates were studied by means of scanning and transmission electron microscopy. Grain boundary pinning by Pd-rich precipitates (Zener drag) and reduced dislocation mobility due to a solute drag effect caused by the enrichment of dislocation cores with Pd were both identified as mechanisms which impede recrystallization. A model is reported which explains the interplay between recrystallization and precipitation, and provides the basis for the optimized thermomechanical treatment then presented. The resulting mechanical properties, in particular the combination of high strength and ductility with a pronounced strain-hardening response, exceed the performance of other TWIP steels and alloys typically used in biomedical implants, such as stainless steel, titanium or cobalt–chromium alloys. The specific property profile developed is especially advantageous for the production and deployment of cardiovascular stents.