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Hazard classification of metal alloys is today generally based on their bulk content, an approach that seldom reflects the extent of metal release for a given environment. Such information can instead be achieved via bioelution testing under simulated physiological conditions. The use of bioelution data instead of bulk contents would hence refine the current hazard classification of alloys and enable grouping. Bioelution data have been generated for nickel (Ni) and cobalt (Co) released from several stainless steel grades, one low-alloyed steel, and Ni and Co metals in synthetic sweat, saliva and gastric fluid, for exposure periods from 2 to 168 h. All stainless steel grades with bulk contents of 0.11–10 wt% Ni and 0.019–0.24 wt% Co released lower amounts of Ni (up to 400-fold) and Co (up to 300-fold) than did the low-alloyed steel (bulk content: 0.034% Ni, 0.015% Co). They further showed a relative bioaccessibility of Ni and Co considerably less than 1, while the opposite was the case for the low-alloyed steel. Surface oxide- and electrochemical corrosion investigations explained these findings in terms of the high passivity of the stainless steels related to the Cr(III)-rich surface oxide that readily adapted to the fluid acidity and chemistry.


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Xuying Wang, James J. Noël, Inger Odnevall Wallinder, Yolanda S. Hedberg, Metal bioaccessibility in synthetic body fluids – A way to consider positive and negative alloying effects in hazard assessments, Materials & Design, Volume 198, 2021, 109393, ISSN 0264-1275, (

1-s2.0-S0264127520309291-mmc1.pdf (2809 kB)
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