Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Materials Science and Engineering

First Advisor's Name

Norman Munroe

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Kinzy Jones

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Arvind Agarwal

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Anthony McGoron

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Sharan Ramaswamy

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Sixth Advisor's Name

Benjamin Boesl

Sixth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


Bio-absorbable, magnesium alloy, polymer coating, surface treatments, corrosion, biocompatibility, hemocompatibility, tensile testing

Date of Defense



Advances in biomaterials have enabled medical practitioners to replace diseased body parts or to assist in the healing process. In situations where a permanent biomaterial implant is used for a temporary application, additional surgeries are required to remove these implants once the healing process is complete, which increases medical costs and patient morbidity. Bio-absorbable materials dissolve and are metabolized by the body after the healing process is complete thereby negating additional surgeries for removal of implants.

Magnesium alloys as novel bio-absorbable biomaterials, have attracted great attention recently because of their good mechanical properties, biocompatibility and corrosion rate in physiological environments. However, usage of Mg as biodegradable implant has been limited by its poor corrosion resistance in the physiological solutions. An optimal biodegradable implant must initially have slow degradation to ensure total mechanical integrity then degrade over time as the tissue heals.

The current research focuses on surface modification of Mg alloy (MZC) by surface treatment and polymer coating in an effort to enhance the corrosion rate and biocompatibility. It is envisaged that the results obtained from this investigation would provide the academic community with insights for the utilization of bio-absorbable implants particularly for patients suffering from atherosclerosis.

The alloying elements used in this study are zinc and calcium both of which are essential minerals in the human metabolic and healing processes. A hydrophobic biodegradable co-polymer, polyglycolic-co-caprolactone (PGCL), was used to coat the surface treated MZC to retard the initial degradation rate. Two surface treatments were selected: (a) acid etching and (b) anodization to produce different surface morphologies, roughness, surface energy, chemistry and hydrophobicity that are pivotal for PGCL adhesion onto the MZC. Additionally, analyses of biodegradation, biocompatibility, and mechanical integrity were performed in order to investigate the optimum surface modification process, suitable for biomaterial implants.

The study concluded that anodization created better adhesion between the MZC and PGCL coating. Furthermore, PGCL coated anodized MZC exhibited lower corrosion rate, good mechanical integrity, and better biocompatibility as compared with acid etched.





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