Although significant advances have been made to provide mechanically strong and nontoxic metals and alloys, biological integration of devices into natural tissues remains a problem. The Surface Induced Mineralization (SIM) and Void Metal Composite (VMC) processes produce a bioactive porous metal implant coating/device which may address many of the problems associated with conventional processing methods.
The VMC process produces materials which have cylindrical pores of uniform diameter which can completely penetrate the structure of the material. The pore diameter, orientation and interconnectivety are easily controlled
The SIM process uses the idea of nature's template-mediated mineralization by chemically modifying the implant to produce a surface which induces heterogeneous nucleation from aqueous solution. SIM produced bioactive coatings provide 1) control of the thickness and density of the mineral phase, 2) a way to coat porous metals, complex shapes and large objects, 3) the ability to coat a wide variety of materials, 4) potential choice for the phase of the mineral formed.