High Performance Ceramic with Uniform Nanostructure Designed for Increased Life-span of Orthopaedic Implants

Innovnano, an expert manufacturer of high performance ceramic powder, has developed 3 mol % yttria stabilised zirconia powder (3YSZ) – an advanced technical ceramic with medical device applications.

Thanks to a uniform nanostructure and formation of a high stability phase under pressure, Innovnano’s 3YSZ combines extreme component strength and fracture-resistance with enhanced biocompatibility, making it the ideal ceramic material for extended-life orthopaedic implants, particularly knee and hip replacements. With advanced mechanical and tribological performance as well as ageing resistance, Innovnano’s 3YSZ powder offers an attractive solution to medical implant manufacturers, which, through increased implant lifetime, can offer their customers reduced time, costs and morbidity through fewer repeat, invasive procedures. 

Innovnano’s 3YSZ is manufactured using the company’s patented Emulsion Detonation Synthesis (EDS) technology, producing a highly pure, nanostructured ceramic powder with desirable homogeneity and an even distribution of yttria.  Stemming from the powders’ nanostructure, the 3YSZ can be sintered at lower temperatures, to keep grain size to a minimum. The resulting high density ceramic provides excellent mechanical performance and exceptional bending strength - an essential property for orthopaedic implants which are put under constant mechanical stresses and strains. Furthermore, thanks to the small grain size, the 3YSZ ceramic shows enhanced material stability and, in turn, increased resistance to hydrothermal ageing.

With ever-increasing life expectancy, orthopaedic implants need to be able to stand the test of time, with minimised requirements for revisional surgery. Usually, under significant or repeated stress, a crack can begin to form on the surface of the implant, which over time can cause it to fail. With Innovnano’s 3YSZ, this same stress induces the 3YSZ to undergo structural transformation which acts to compress any crack, delaying or preventing its growth, and subsequently improving the fracture resistance. It is this phase transformation which can therefore increase the lifetime of joint replacements.

Innovnano - a subsidiary of CUF, one of the largest chemical companies in Europe - is a specialist manufacturer of industrial scale quantities of high quality nanostructured zirconia-based powders and aluminium zinc oxide sputter coating targets. With a new, purpose-built production centre, built on a modular design, Innovano can scale-up production to 1000 tpa to meet the rapidly growing demands of industries taking advantage of high performance materials.

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