Nitinol Bone Plate – exploring the elements behind this extraordinary alloy


Nitinol Bone Plate - exploring the elements behind this extraordinary alloy

Membership year

2008 - 2009


This resource is an exciting book which considers the materials used in a bone plate made from Nitinol, an alloy of nickel and titanium.  The bone plate is designed to change shape on implantation in order to pull the two ends of the broken bone together and speed up the healing process.  The resource has been designed as a reference guide for teachers to link in with the materials, minerals and mining topics in the secondary science and technology curricula, though some sections will also be very relevant to geology and geography.

Nickel and titanium are both very important metals in their own right and both are derived from natural resources.  In order to be able to locate and extract these metals efficiently it is important to appreciate the minerals from which they are derived and how these are formed.  In the chapter on Metals and Minerals the basics of mineral classification are described along with a discussion of how these minerals are concentrated to produce viable reserves.  The methods of extraction differ slightly for the nickel and titanium and these techniques are described in detail along with information about how the metals are processed once extracted.

Nickel and titanium are used in a large number of applications ranging from jet engine components to artificial body parts because of their excellent properties.  These properties are discussed along with the uses of nickel and titanium and their alloys in two comprehensive chapters which also cover the discovery and structure of the metals.

Nitinol is useful as it is a shape memory metal, a type of smart material.  Smart materials are a group of functional materials which are becoming increasingly popular in everyday applications.  The science behind shape memory metals is discussed along with other interesting uses of these materials.


96 page book


A limited number of additional copies are available for purchase at a cost of £20 each, contact

Alternatively, download the PDF file.


Nitinol Bone Plate (PDF, 1564kB)