Wear and biological safety of dental titanium implants

   Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

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  Dr Xiaohui Chen, Prof Nikolaos Silikas, Prof Julie Gough, Dr R Lindsay  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Implant dentistry with a globally market of CHF 4.5 billion in 20181 has shown a steady increase over the last few years. Titanium implant is the most widely accepted and successfully used type of dental implant. Despite a high success rate, failures associate with toxicity of particles release from implant system via wear have been reported2,3. Excess wear may lead to several problems including loss of fine metal particles that may be cytotoxic to the oral environment, loss of occlusal contact, destruction of periodontal tissues, loss of masticatory efficiency, fatigue of masticatory muscles and the failure of implant. Therefore, understanding the wear mechanism and characteristic of dental titanium implant is extremely important.

This PhD research project aims to conduct an in vitro evaluation to study the wear mechanism and biological safety of a series of lab developed Titanium dental implant and ultimately develop affordable, biologically safe implants with friendly wear. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to learn how dental implants including 3D printed Ti6Al4V3 are designed, optimised and manufactured; characterise the mechanical properties and corrosion characteristic of dental implants, conduct wear simulation using a SD Mechatronik chewing simulator, monitor and quantify wear, and investigate the biological safety including cytotoxicity and bone formation. A range of the state-of-the-art techniques including Profilometer, Confocal Microscopy, Focused Ion Beam Scanning Electron Microscopy (FIB SEM), Bruker Hysitron NanoDMA, Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES), high performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) will be used.

The successful candidate will have access to the world-class characterisation facilities within the Henry Royce Institute at the University of Manchester, Doctoral Academy Training Programme and opportunities to participate and lead outreach activities. The candidate will have the opportunity to visit the global partner Prof. Kaushik Chatterjee of this project at the Indian Institution of Science (IISc), one of the best research institutions in India.

1Decision Resource Group 2017-18, iData 2017 and Straumann bottom up estimates in 70 countries.

2What is the impact of titanium particles and biocorrosion on implant survival and complications? A critical review. Clin Oral Implants Res. 2018; 29(Suppl 18):37–53.

3Foreign body reactions, marginal bone loss and allergies in relation to titanium implants. Eur J Oral Implantol. 2018; 11(Suppl 1):S37–46.

Entry Requirements

Candidates are expected to hold (or be about to obtain) a minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a related area / subject. Candidates with experience in Materials Science preferably in metal/metal alloys or with an interest in dental biomaterials are encouraged to apply. 

How To Apply

For information on how to apply for this project, please visit the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Doctoral Academy website (https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/study/research/apply/). Informal enquiries may be made directly to the primary supervisor. On the online application form select the appropriate subject title.

For international students, we also offer a unique 4 year PhD programme that gives you the opportunity to undertake an accredited Teaching Certificate whilst carrying out an independent research project across a range of biological, medical and health sciences.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. The full Equality, diversity and inclusion statement can be found on the website https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/study/research/apply/equality-diversity-inclusion/”

Funding Notes

Applications are invited from self-funded students. This project has a Band 2 fee. Details of our different fee bands can be found on our website (https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/study/research/fees/).


1. Reduced wear of enamel with novel fine and nano-scale leucite glass-ceramics, Journal of Dentistry, 2013, 41, 6, 561-568.
2. Role of aging induced α precipitation on the mechanical and tribocorrosive performance of a β Ti-Nb-Ta-O orthopedic alloy, Materials Sciences and Engineering: C, 2019, 103 109755.
3. Study of the influence of Zr on the mechanical properties and functional response of Ti-Nb-Ta-Zr-O alloy for orthopedic applications, Materials & Design, 2019, 164, 107555.
4. Globularization using heat treatment in additively manufactured Ti-6Al-4V for high strength and toughness Acta Materialia, 2019, 162, 239-254.
5. Toward optimizing dental implant performance: surface characterisation of Ti and TiZr implant materials, Dental Materials, 2017, 33(1) 43-53.
6. An ex situ study of the adsorption of calcium phosphate from solution onto TiO2(110) and Al2O3(0001), Surface Science, 2016, 646, 146.
7. Structure of a Superhydrophilic Surface: Wet Chemically Prepared Rutile-TiO2(110)(1×1), The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 2019, 123, 13, 8463-8468.
8. Osteogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells promotes mineralization within a biodegradable peptide hydrogel, Journal of Tissue Engineering, 2016, 7, 15.
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