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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/L024780/1
Title: Nano Materials and Structures for Superior Implants (Nanoplants)
Principal Investigator: Vaidhyanathan, Professor B
Other Investigators:
Binner, Professor J
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Morgan Advanced Materials plc (UK) The McMinn Centre
Department: Materials
Organisation: Loughborough University
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 02 June 2014 Ends: 01 June 2017 Value (£): 358,390
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Biomaterials Biomechanics & Rehabilitation
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Healthcare Manufacturing
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
27 Feb 2014 Healthcare Impact Partnerships 2013 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Various RCUK funded projects at Loughborough University over the years have delivered significant foreground intellectual property and technology know-how related to the fabrication of nanostructured materials with outstanding properties, surpassing some of the commercial counterparts, relevant to the energy, electronic security and in particular healthcare sectors. Specifically it has been demonstrated that the hydrothermal ageing (HTA) resistance of zirconia based ceramics can be enhanced significantly by retaining a nano grain size below 180 nm even at low density components. This is highly relevant to the ~$5B hip replacement market where concerns about the toxicity / wear debris in metal and polymer components renders all-ceramic solutions increasingly attractive. HTA degradation (the unwanted conversion of tetragonal zirconia to a weaker monoclinic form in an aqueous environment) is the Achilles-heel for the use of zirconia ceramics in biomedical sector and was the reason behind the well-publicised failure of zirconia hip replacements around 2000. Thus, when HTA is countered, new opportunities open up. The proposed technology (involving novel nano-suspension control, granulation and then microwave assisted hybrid heating as well as flash sintering regimes; zirconia toughened alumina and zirconia ceramics will be considered) aims to deliver very small zirconia grain sizes that will both assist current compliance (e.g. ISO 13356, ISO 633-3) and open up novel all-ceramic hip replacements via multi-fold enhancement in HTA-resistance of porous and dense graded zirconia based structures. The methodology will be applicable to ceramic-metal graded implant structures also with suitable modifications. The retention of nano-size throughout all stages of ceramic component production is critical to delivering the target end properties that will assist the health and quality of life in a growing ageing population. This will be achieved via the development of implant structures (applicable for hip/knee prosthesis, finger joints and jaw & skull repairs) that deliver improved mobility over a longer time period thus reducing reliance on repeat surgery and in some cases confinement to use of wheelchair.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.lboro.ac.uk