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Tutorial MenueThe World of the Platinum MetalsLearning Unit 5 of 5

Platinum in Medical Technology


The precious metal platinum plays an important role in medical technology, particularly in applications in both temporary and permanent implants. Approximately 5 tonnes of platinum are required annually in this area. The main applications in this field are cardiac pacemakers and other stimulation devices, aneurysm coils, guide wires and stents.

The basic properties that predestine platinum for these applications are the biocompatibility, corrosion properties, X-ray visibility and mechanical properties of the platinum alloys.

Corrosion behavior

Polarization resistance of various metals and alloys as a function of t he corrosion behavior.

Biocompatibility is inseparably associated with the corrosion properties. In the body are fundamentally different reactions to foreign materials (Fig. 1). In this aspect, the corrosion properties are substantially determined by the property of the metal as to how readily ions from the metal are taken into solution. The higher the corrosion resistance, the greater is the biocompatibility of the material. Inert platinum is therefore one of the most suitable materials for implants.

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