Effects of simulated inflammation on the corrosion of 316L stainless steel

Emily K. Brooks, Richard P. Brooks, Mark T. Ehrensberger*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Stainless steel alloys, including 316L, find use in orthopaedics, commonly as fracture fixation devices. Invasive procedures involved in the placement of these devices will provoke a local inflammatory response that produces hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and an acidic environment surrounding the implant. This study assessed the influence of a simulated inflammatory response on the corrosion of 316L stainless steel. Samples were immersed in an electrolyte representing either normal or inflammatory physiological conditions. After 24 h of exposure, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy (ICPMS) were used to evaluate differences in corrosion behavior and ion release induced by the inflammatory conditions. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDX) were used to evaluate surface morphology and corrosion products formed on the sample surface. Inflammatory conditions, involving the presence of H2O2 and an acidic pH, significantly alter the corrosion processes of 316L stainless steel, promoting aggressive and localized corrosion. It is demonstrated that particular consideration should be given to 316L stainless steel implants with crevice susceptible areas (ex. screw-head/plate interface), as those areas may have an increased probability of rapid and aggressive corrosion when exposed to inflammatory conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-205
Number of pages6
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering C
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • 316L
  • Corrosion
  • Inflammation
  • Orthopaedics
  • Stainless steel


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