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The Influence of Plasma-Based Nitriding and Oxidizing Treatments on the Mechanical and Corrosion Properties of CoCrMo Biomedical Alloy
Plasma-based nitriding and/or oxidizing treatments were applied to CoCrMo alloy to improve its surface mechanical properties and corrosion resistance for biomedical applications. Three treatments were performed. A set of CoCrMo samples has been subjected to nitriding at moderate temperatures (similar to 400 A degrees C). A second set of CoCrMo samples was oxidized at 395 A degrees C in pure O-2. The last set of CoCrMo samples was nitrided and subsequently oxidized under the experimental conditions of previous sets (double treatment). The microstructure and morphology of the layers formed on the CoCrMo alloy were investigated by X-ray diffraction, Atomic Force Microscopy, and Scanning Electron Microscopy. In addition, nitrogen and oxygen profiles were determined by Glow Discharge Optical Emission Spectroscopy, Rutherford Backscattering Spectroscopy, Energy-Dispersive X-ray, and Nuclear Reaction Analysis. Significant improvement of the Vickers hardness of the CoCrMo samples after plasma nitriding was observed due to the supersaturated nitrogen solution and the formation of an expanded FCC gamma (N) phase and CrN precipitates. In the case of the oxidized samples, Vickers hardness improvement was minimal. The corrosion behavior of the samples was investigated in simulated body fluid (0.9 pct NaCl solution at 37 A degrees C) using electrochemical techniques (potentiodynamic polarization and cyclic voltammetry). The concentration of metal ions released from the CoCrMo surfaces was determined by Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis. The experimental results clearly indicate that the CoCrMo surface subjected to the double surface treatment consisting in plasma nitriding and plasma oxidizing exhibited lower deterioration and better resistance to corrosion compared to the nitrided, oxidized, and untreated samples. This enhancement is believed to be due to the formation of a thicker and more stable layer.