Tribocorrosion behaviour of pure titanium in bovine serum albumin solution: A multiscale study

Evangelos Liamas, Owen R.T. Thomas, Anna Igual Muñoz, Zhenyu J. Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tribocorrosion behaviour of pure titanium in phosphate buffer saline (PBS) solution has been investigated systematically as a function of surface chemistry and bovine serum albumin (BSA) content in the solution. A ball-on-disk tribometer coupled with an electrochemical cell was used to study the effect of electrochemical conditions (i.e. anodic and cathodic applied potentials, as well as at open circuit potential) on the tribocorrosion response of titanium. It was found that the main material loss is due to mechanical wear caused by plastic deformation. The mechanical wear was higher under anodic conditions than under cathodic, partially due to an increased presence of debris particles at the sliding interface that act as third bodies. The effect of BSA on the interaction between alumina and titanium, as well as the behaviour of third bodies during the mechanical wear, were investigated in the nanoscale level using atomic force microscopy based force spectroscopy. It was found that the presence of BSA affects tribocorrosion in various ways. Firstly, it increases the repassivation rate of the oxide film by inhibiting the cathodic reactions and accelerating the anodic reactions. Secondly, it increases the mechanical wear by increasing the adhesion of debris onto the sliding interface, while at anodic conditions it increases the rolling efficiency of the debris particles that further enhances the mechanical wear.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103511
JournalJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
ZJZ acknowledges financial support from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) under project EP/P007864/1 and the Royal Society ( IE161008 ). Appendix A

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019

Copyright 2019 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • AFM
  • BSA
  • Force spectroscopy
  • Protein adsorption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials


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