Shot peening adds strength to implants

Controlled shot peening is being employed by USF Vacu-Blast to optimise the inherent strength of stainless steel and titanium surgical implants, such as artificial hip joints.

As well as increasing the fatigue life of a hip joint or other implant, the peening process has the added advantage of producing a textured surface, which then assists in the successful adhesion of the implant with the surrounding bone and tissue.

Vacu-Blast has developed the process in conjunction with a number of UK based surgical implant manufacturers, employing its Ventus cabinet type peening machines, specially tailored for the purpose. When processing titanium which can create a flammable dust, this includes explosion-relief panels and other integral safeguards. The machines can be manual or automatic.

The peening process involves bombarding the metal surfaces with a precisely controlled stream of steel shot. Glass or ceramic beads are also used for applications that require a lower intensity peening effect.

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