NewPhaseBio - A new generation of phase field-based models to predict the degradation of biomaterials

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Engineering Science


Biodegradable materials, such as magnesium (Mg), have attracted significant attention in medical applications due to their
mechanical properties, biocompatibility, and in vivo degradability. However, their use as implant materials is being hindered by their
rapid corrosion rates and mechanical failures - degradation occurs before bone healing. This fellowship builds upon the hypothesis
that these challenges can be overcome by tailoring the mechanical integrity and degradation rates through the development of Mgbased
composite materials and Mg alloys with adequate choices of composition. To achieve this, I will develop a new class of phase
field-based models that resolve the electro-chemo-mechanical processes underlying biomaterial degradation, extending the success
of phase field approaches to a new discipline (bio-corrosion). Computational predictions will be benchmarked against a
complementary experimental campaign, and subsequently used to map viability regimes and gain fundamental insight that will set
the basis for new Mg-based bioengineering solutions. The goal is to develop a "virtual platform" that will enable tailoring
biocorrosion rates to the desired implant geometry/integrity at the end of its functional life, with the long-term ambition of impacting
clinical practice. The feasibility of the research is strengthened by my pioneering work in phase field corrosion for structural materials,
and the interdisciplinary collaboration arranged, involving two host supervisors at Imperial College London with a world-leading
reputation in biomaterials (J. Jones) and phase field multi-physics modelling (E. Martinez-Pañeda), and a collaborator leading a
complementary H2020 project focused on experimental testing of Mg and Mg-based composite implants (J. Llorca, Polytechnic
University of Madrid and IMDEA Materials).


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