IMDEA Materials Institute’s Expert Insight Series – Martin Otto, Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research

IMDEA Materials Institute was pleased to recently host a guest seminar from Martin Otto from the Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research, on Fe-Mn-C steels for biodegradable vascular implant applications.
We took the opportunity to speak with him about his latest work in this field.

Question: First of all, Martin, thank you for speaking to me. You’re here today to talk about the applications of Fe-Mn-C steels for biodegradable vascular implants. Could you please expand a little on the relevance of these steels in this context?

Answer: Of course. So, our latest research has involved comparing the performance of our Fe-Mn-C- based steels to a benchmark austenitic steel based on nickel, chromium (316L). What that research has shown is that in comparison to this benchmark steel, we have been able to achieve higher ultimate tensile strengths, and also a higher ratio between the tensile strength and the yield strength. That means that there is greater range for plastic deformation of the stent later on, which can assist the doctor in implanting the stent. The ductility of the material was also enhanced, which is beneficial for the flexibility and the stent’s expansion.

Question: In your latest research, you put particular emphasis on the importance of the material having a uniform grain size. Why is that so important in this context?

Answer: So, the grain size is particularly important in terms of being able to generate reproducibility in the material properties that are being measured. It will also hopefully lead to a beneficial impact in the material performance. In the specific context of the stent application, we need to have comparable mechanical performance in the whole stent structure, and having a uniform grain size throughout the material is important for that.

Question: And what’s the next step in your research from here?

Answer: Our next step will be to generate the industrial process through which we can produce the stent. The stent structure that we have is already very close to the final product. That means we can expect its current performance to closely match the results from actual application biological tests. That would of course be very interesting, and we will also hopefully be able to carry in vivo tests in the future to get a better understanding how the material is degrading within the body.

Question: Finally, why have you come to IMDEA Materials today to present this research?

Answer: Basically, my visit today is the result of an exchange of ideas at a conference a couple of years ago with (IMDEA Materials researcher) Lola Martín. From there, I got to know more about the research group that you have at the Institute led by Dr. Jennifer Patterson, who is obviously someone with a great deal of expertise in biomaterials and regenerative medicine. So, I wanted to come here to present my studies in the hope that it might be of some benefit to the researchers here, and also to promote an exchange of ideas for possible future collaborations in this area.

Thank you very much, Martin!

You can find out more about Martin Otto’s current research, here: