Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Materials Science and Engineering (PhD)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Advisor 1

Jaroslaw W. Drelich

Advisor 2

Jeremy Goldman

Committee Member 1

Stephen L. Kampe

Committee Member 2

Yongmei Jin

Committee Member 3

Feng Zhao


Zinc has begun to be studied as a bio-degradable material in recent years due to its excellent corrosion rate and optimal biocompatibility. Unfortunately, pure Zn’s intrinsic ultimate tensile strength (UTS; below 120 MPa) is lower than the benchmark (about 300 MPa) for cardiovascular stent materials, raising concerns about sufficient strength to support the blood vessel. Thus, modifying pure Zn to improve its mechanical properties is an important research topic.

In this dissertation project, a new Zn-Li alloy has been developed to retain the outstanding corrosion behavior from Zn while improving the mechanical characteristics and uniform biodegradation once it is implanted into the artery of Sprague-Dawley rats.

The completed work includes:

  • Manufactured Zn-Li alloy ingots and sheets via induction vacuum casting, melt spinning, hot rolling deformation, and wire electro discharge machining (wire EDM) technique; processed alloy samples using cross sectioning, mounting, etching and polishing technique;
  • Characterized alloy ingots, sheets and wires using hardness and tensile test, XRD, BEI imaging, SEM, ESEM, FTIR, ICP-OES and electrochemical test; then selected the optimum composition for in vitro and in vivo experiments;
  • Mimicked the degradation behavior of the Zn-Li alloy in vitro using simulated body fluid (SBF) and explored the relations between corrosion rate, corrosion products and surface morphology with changing compositions;
  • Explanted the Zn-Li alloy wire in abdominal aorta of rat over 12 months and studied its degradation mechanism, rate of bioabsorption, cytotoxicity and corrosion product migration from histological analysis.