|NanoMAG magnesium alloy sheet|
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is giving a $100,000 grant to NanoMAG LLC (Ann Arbor, MI) for work on resorbable implants with orthopaedic applications. NanoMAG, a subsidiary of Thixomat Technologies, developed lightweight magneium sheet technology that is 200% stronger than conventional magnesium. The material also provides the same strength of a carbon steel sheet but at 1/4 the weight. In the past, magnesium alloy sheet manufacturing has been expensive and its availablity was limited. However, nanoMAG's process uses isotropic fine-grained strengthening that enables low-volume manufacturing while remaining competitive in cost.
The magnesium alloy sheet has potential in ligament fixation, craniofacial implants, and small bone implants that have screws, staples, tacks, wires, rods, and plates. The company is developing nanostructured magnesium alloys that have "exceptional" strength-density ratios and corrosion resistance that can be customized to certain biodegradation rates while also being biocompatible. Under the NSF funding, nanoMAG is working with Biomet.
The company estimates that the global medical implant market will surpass $4 billion and nearly 30% of this will be tied to ligament repairs that could benefit from better fastening systems that use resorbable magnesium implants.
The sheet is also used in military applications for vehicle and body armor. NanoMAG received a $730,000 contract extension from the army to develop a lightweight composite armor for armored vehicles and ballistic applications.