Magnesium (Mg) and its alloys, including Mg-9%Al-1%Zn (AZ91), are biodegradable metals with potential use as temporary orthopedic implants. Invasive orthopedic procedures can provoke an inflammatory response that produces hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and an acidic environment near the implant. This study assessed the influence of inflammation on both the corrosion and mechanical properties of AZ91. The AZ91 samples in the inflammatory protocol were immersed for three days in a complex biologically relevant electrolyte (AMEM culture media) that contained serum proteins (FBS), 150 mM of H2O2, and was titrated to a pH of 5. The control protocol immersed AZ91 samples in the same biologically relevant electrolyte (AMEM & FBS) but without H2O2 and the acid titration. After 3 days all samples were switched into fresh AMEM & FBS for an additional 3-day immersion. During the initial immersion, inflammatory protocol samples showed increased corrosion rate determined by mass loss testing, increased Mg and Al ion released to solution, and a completely corroded surface morphology as compared to the control protocol. Although corrosion in both protocols slowed once the test electrolyte solution was replaced at 3 days, the samples originally exposed to the simulated inflammatory conditions continued to display enhanced corrosion rates as compared to the control protocol. These lingering effects may indicate the initial inflammatory corrosion processes modified components of the surface oxide and corrosion film or initiated aggressive localized processes that subsequently left the interface more vulnerable to continued enhanced corrosion. The electrochemical properties of the interfaces were also evaluated by EIS, which found that the corrosion characteristics of the AZ91 samples were potentially influenced by the role of intermediate adsorption layer processes. The increased corrosion observed for the inflammatory protocol did not affect the flexural mechanical properties of the AZ91 at any time point assessed.
- Magnesium alloy