Biocompatible Materials

Technical Applications


Biocompatible materials are materials which are designed to exist and perform specific functions within living organisms. These include a broad range of substances such as structural metallic orthopedic prosthetic implants, artificial blood and skin, and surface coatings for implantable sensors for chronic (long-term) patient monitoring or electrodes for functional electrical stimulation.


While implant durability is one concern, the major problem is the body's ability to reject these materials as foreign objects either through an adverse immune system response or by attempting to "wall them off" by surrounding them with a protein layer.


The U.S. has a substantial leadership position in this area across metallic, ceramic, and organic materials with the possible exception of artificial blood where the Japanese have had a significant concentration of effort.