Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


Craig R Friedrich


This research focused on the to modification of the surface structure of titanium implants with nanostructured morphology of TiO2 nanotubes and studied the interaction of nanotubes with osteoblast cells to understand the parameters that affect the cell growth. The electrical, mechanical, and structural properties of TiO2 nanotubes were characterized to establish a better understanding on the properties of such nanoscale morphological structures.

To achieve the objectives of this research work I transformed the titanium and its alloys, either in bulk sheet form, bulk machined form, or thin film deposited on another substrate into a surface of titania nanotubes using a low cost and environmentally friendly process. The process requires only a simple electrolyte, low cost electrode, and a DC power supply. With this simple approach of scalable nanofabrication, a typical result is nanotubes that are each approximately 100nm in diameter and have a wall thickness of about 20nm. By changing the fabrication parameters, independent nanotubes can be fabricated with open volume between them. Titanium in this form is termed onedimensional since electron transport is narrowly confined along the length of the nanotube. My Ph.D. accomplishments have successfully shown that osteoblast cells, the cells that are the precursors to bone, have a strong tendency to attach to the inside and outside of the titanium nanotubes onto which they are grown using their filopodia – cell’s foot used for locomotion – anchored to titanium nanotubes. In fact it was shown that the cell prefers to find many anchoring sites. These sites are critical for cell locomotion during the first several weeks of maturity and upon calcification as a strongly anchored bone cell. In addition I have shown that such a surface has a greater cell density than a smooth titanium surface. My work also developed a process that uses a focused and controllably rastered ion beam as a nano-scalpel to cut away sections of the osteoblast cells to probe the attachment beneath the main cell body. Ultimately the more rapid growth of osteoblasts, coupled with a stronger cell-surface interface, could provide cost reduction, shorter rehabilitation, and fewer follow-on surgeries due to implant loosening.