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WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol
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Nanotechnology in joint replacement

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This paper reviews the most relevant achievements and new developments in the field of nanomaterials and their possible impact on the fabrication of a new generation of reliable and longer lasting implants for joint replacement. Special emphasis is given to the role of nanocomposites with different microstructural designs: micro–nano composites, nano–nano composites, macro–micro–nano composites as well as bioinspired hierarchical composite materials. These nanostructured materials have opened up an exciting avenue in the design of non‐metallic biocompatible, crack growth resistant, tough, and mechanically resistant implants with a lifespan close to the life expectancy of the patients Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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Figure 1.

Apart from mechanical stability, nanotechnology can provide other functionalities to medical implants.

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Figure 2.

Vertical evolution from micro–nano to bioinspired hierarchical composites. Each horizontal line shows the evolution of each kind of composites as they try to ameliorate the mechanical performance of materials for medical devices.

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Figure 3.

Slow crack growth curve showing lower sensitivity to delayed failure (slow crack growth occurs for larger applied KI/KIC values in the case of micro–nano composites alumina–1.7 vol% zirconia).

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Figure 4.

Alumina ‐1.7 vol% nanocomposite powders obtained by a colloidal processing route from two different starting powders.37.

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Figure 5.

Macro–micro–nano composites with high microstructural complexity obtained by two different methods (a) ice templated80 and (b) powder processing with lamellar metal particulate.62.

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Mauro Ferrari

Mauro Ferrari

started out in mechanical engineering and became interested in nanotechnology with his studies on nanomechanics and nanofluidics. His research work and involvement with setting up some of the premier nano centers and alliances in the world, bringing together universities, hospitals, and federal agencies, showcases interdisciplinarity at work.

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