Application of the spatially resolved local techniques to study the corrosion mechanism of biodegradable metals

Biodegradable metals have been regarded as emerging implant materials in recent years. Despite multiple endeavors that elevate the biodegradability and biocompatibility of biodegradable metals, their degradation mechanism demands further investigation. A majority of researches concern the general performance of biodegradable metals based on ex situ observations. However, the degradation of biodegradable metals typically initiates locally and evolves variably. In this thesis, the degradation behavior of biodegradable Mg-, Zn-, and Fe-based alloys are systematically studied by the spatially resolved localized techniques that measure local pH, local O2 levels, and local H2 concentration at the metal interface. These local parameters are highly relevant to the interfacial degradation process of biodegradable metals. The variation of local pH indicates the anodic/cathodic process and the formation of pH-dependent degradation products at the metal interface. The local concentrations of O2 and H2 demonstrate the typical cathodic reactions accompanying metal degradation, including hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) that generates H2 and oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) that consumes O2. Meanwhile, both HER and ORR contribute to the evolution of the interfacial pH as they also produce hydroxyls. All these local parameters disclose the interaction between metal degradation and the surrounding microenvironment, promoting the understanding of the degradation mechanism.


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