Magnesium and its alloys are considered for specific applications in medicine such as fixation devices, screws and stents. However, release of hydrogen gas, pH increase and premature failure of the mechanical integrity of implant material are considered as the main limitations. Zinc-based alloys offer an interesting alternative choice for similar kind of applications, however, some limitations are known. First of all, the human body is able to accept significantly lower daily doses of zinc compared to magnesium. Zinc is also quite heavy metal with density and young modulus highly different from that of bones. In summary, both kinds of alloys intended for applications in medicine behave very differently. In present work Mg-4Y-3RE magnesium-based alloy and Zn-1Mg-0.5Ca zinc-based alloy were selected as representative materials and the most relevant properties of both groups of alloys are specified. Obtained results confirmed that zinc-based alloys can compete magnesium-based alloys in the case of strength and corrosion rate. Unfortunately, plasticity and also biocompatibility of studied Zn-1Mg-0.5Ca were significantly deteriorated compared to the Mg-4Y-3RE alloy.Keywords: Magnesium, zinc, biodegradable materials, mechanical properties, corrosion
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