Biomedical Materials Science

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Research Capabilities and Facilities

The Department of Biomedical Materials Science offices and laboratories occupy nearly 5,000 square feet within the School of Dentistry. These facilities permit research and characterization of a diverse range of materials (metals, polymers, ceramics, composites), of a wide range of properties (physical, mechanical, electrochemical, biological, etc.), and at all levels of interest - from atomistic to macroscopic.

Department of Biomedical Materials Science Shared Equipment Facility

In light of the fact that the equipment available in our laboratories represents the state of the art in material testing and characterization, and a variety of industries and other universities have requested access to this equipment, the Department of Biomedical Materials Science has formalized a Shared Equipment Facility. This facility provides access to equipment used to perform materials processing, characterization and certification.

These services are now available to users within and outside the academic community on a fee-for-service basis. Users may become trained in the use of the equipment and be allowed independent operation or testing may be performed by departmental personnel at an additional cost.

For more information, refer to the Shared Equipment Facility Catalog.

Research Facilities

Materials Characterization

Chemical analysis

  • EDAX GENESIS Energy Dispersive Analyzer with SUTW detector
  • TSL Electron Backscattered Diffraction Analyzer
  • X-Ray Diffraction System - Equipped for powder diffraction, thin film analysis, and stress analysis using pole figures
  • PERKIN-ELMER ELANDRC II ICP-MS with CETAC LSX-213 Laser Ablation System
  • AMETEK SPECTOMAXx Stationary Metal Analyzer
  • PERKIN ELMER Spectrum 100 FT-IR

Thermal analysis

  • PERKIN ELMER Differential Thermal Analyzer
  • METTLER-TOLEDO DSC 823e Differential Scanning Calorimeter
  • METTLER-TOLEDO DSC 30 Differential Scanning Calorimeter
  • METTLER-TOLEDO TGA 50 Thermogravimetric Analyzer
  • METTLER-TOLEDO TMA 40 Thermomechanical Analyzer

Corrosion electrochemical

  • GAMRY Series G 300 Potentiostat/Galvanostat/ZRA
  • GAMRY ECM8 8-Station Electrochemical Multiplexer
  • Princeton Applied Research PARSTAT 2273 w/ 20A Kepco Booster

Materials Preparation

Ceramic processing

The ceramic processing laboratory contains the equipment typically found in a dental laboratory and allows the fabrication of a variety of all-ceramic prostheses (powder porcelain, pressable, glass-infiltrated, CAD-CAM, and sintered). Some of the techniques, such as lost wax method and air abrasion, are also useful in preparation or surface treatment of metallic and other materials for a variety of applications.

Cerec inLab 3D dental CAD-CAM system (Sirona)

  • inEOS scanner for rapid 3D model acquisition
  • Restoration Types: veneers, inlays, onlays, crowns, FPDs, and non-dental specimens (using milling unit scanner)
  • Materials: GFRP composites, glass-ceramics, polycrystalline ceramics, and clean burning “wax” (monolithic materials, frameworks, and press-to-fit)
  • Sintramat sintering furnace (Ivoclar-Vivadent)
  • Solid-state sintering of polycrystalline ceramics
  • Max temperature 1600 °C

Touch and press furnace (Dentsply Detrey)

  • Vacuum firing
  • Materials: powder porcelains, pressable glass-ceramics, glass-infiltrated polycrystalline ceramics
  • Max temperature 1200 °C

Lost wax method auxiliary equipment

  • Waxelectric I waxing unit with Vario E preheating reservoir
  • Vacuum Powder Mixer Plus for investment plaster mixing
  • 007EX wax burnout furnace

Quattro IS air abrasion (sandblasting) unit (Renfert)

  • Media Types: glass or alumina beads
  • Pressure Range: 5-8 bar (73-116 psi)
  • Media Sizes: 50 micron (270 mesh) or 125 micron (115 mesh)

USB2000 optical spectrophotometer (Ocean Optics)

  • Integrating sphere for color measurement without edge loss
  • Measures specular, diffuse, and specular + diffuse reflection
  • Output data: reflectance vs wavelength, CIELAB, XYZ, and contrast ratio (translucency)

Metallographic preparation

  • LECO Low Speed Sectioning Saw
  • STRUERS Accutom-50 Precision Cut-Off Saw (2)
  • STREURS Discotom-6 Abrasive Cut-Off Machine
  • STRUERS Dual Automated Mounting Press (2)
  • STRUERS TegraPol automated Polishing/Grinder (2)
  • BUEHLER Vibromet 2 Vibratory Polisher
  • STRUERS Lectropol-5 Electropolishing & Etching System
  • BUEHLER Electromet Etching System
  • FISHER-SCIENTIFIC Ultrasonic Cleaning Unit
  • BRANSON Model 1510 Ultrasonic Cleaner

SEM preparation

  • TECHNICS Sputter Coater
  • LADD Critical Point Dryer

Calcified tissue histology

  • REICHERT-JUNG Polycut E Sledge Microtome
  • SHANDON Autosharp 5 Microtome Knife Sharpener
  • STREURS Sectioning Saw
  • LECO Grinder/Polisher
  • LECO Low Speed Sectioning Saw (MMA)

Materials processing

  • DELTECH Glass Melting Furnace
  • Box Furnaces (3)
  • PRO 100 Ceramic Vacuum Furnace
  • LINDBERG Blue 1200°C Tube Furnaces (2)
  • - Single-zone 2" dia.
  • - Three-zone 6" dia.

Sample and test fixture manufacturing equipment

  • Haas CNC vertical milling machine
  • Haas CNC toolroom lathe



  • LEICATCSSP2 Confocal Scanning Laser Microscope
  • NIKONLabophot Dual Optics Microscope with Teaching Head and UV Fluorescence Imaging
  • LEICAMZ12.5 Microscope with Wide Field Optics
  • LEICADMI5000MMetallograph with Clemex PE
  • LEICADMILMMetallograph with Clemex PE
  • WILD M410Makroskop Stereoscope(MMA)
  • NAVITAR Macro Lens System with Clemex PE
  • UNITRON Measuring Microscope with ClemexCaptiva

Electron microscopy

  • ZEISS Supra 40 Scanning Electron Microscope
    (note: analytical attachments listed in Chemical Analysis)

Atomic force microscopy

  • Veeco Bioscope Catalyst with VeecoNanoScope V controller - Includes perfusion cell and heater assembly for biological samples. This AFM is designed to function both as an independent AFM as well as in conjunction with an inverted optical microscope such as the Olympus IX81 in our laboratory. When using the AFM in conjunction with an optical microscope, the Microscope Image Registration and Overlay (MIRO) software allows integration of optical images (from the CCD camera on the microscope) and AFM images.

X-Ray microtomography (Micro-CT)

  • The system obtains multiple X-ray projections of the object from different angular views, as the object rotates on a high-precision stage. From these projections, cross section images of the object are reconstructed by a modified Feldkamp cone-beam algorithm, creating a complete 3D representation of internal microstructure and density over a selected range of heights in the transmission images.
  • The virtual vantage point and object opacity can be adjusted to view external and/or internal surfaces.
  • Microstructure can be viewed as coronal, sagittal, and transverse sections, and 3D quantitative analysis is available.
  • Data are exported as bitmaps of cross-sections and can be converted to finite element models using our Mimics software.
  • Max Specimen Size: 70 mm height 68 mm diameter
  • Max Resolution: 1 μm
  • Scan & Reconstruction Time: Variable (1 hour to 1 day)
  • 2D and 3D quantitative analysis
  • Export Formats: Finite element (Abacus, Ansys), 3D animations, and 2D cross sections (.bmp, .tiff, .jpg.)

Cell-culture laboratory

  • Advanced Research Microscope - Olympus - This microscope is equipped with brightfield and fluorescence imaging and digital imaging capabilities. It has a motorized stage and an environmental chamber with temperature, CO2, and humidity controls. The motorized stage allows for pre-programmed imaging for multiple locations and the environmental chamber facilitates a long term cell culture under the microscope. A dedicated computer server is assigned to this microscope and has been loaded with the Slidebook image acquisition and analysis software.
  • NUAIRE Tissue culture hoods
  • NUAIRE Tissue culture Incubators
  • KRÜSS Contact Angle Goniometer
  • INOVA Floor Incubator / Shaker
  • BRANSONSonifier S-450D
  • NANODROP UV/Vis Spectrophotometer
  • BIOTEK Fluorescence MicroPlate Reader
  • FISHER SCIENTIFIC Digital Incubator for bacterial culture
  • PRECISION Water Bath
  • ISOTEMP Refrigerator 17 cu. ft.
  • ISOTEMP Freezer 17 cu. ft.
  • NEW BRUNSWICK Ultra-low Freezer
  • CRYOMED Liquid nitrogen storage for cell stocks
  • FISHER SCIENTIFIC Stoval Belly Dancer Shaker

Mechanical Testing - Tribo Corrosion

  • MTS (up to 100kN Capacity) with Multiaxial Bionix Testing System (3 Testing Frames)
  • MTS/CTM Five Station Axial Fatigue System (25kN) & Torsion System
  • MTS 8 Station Hip Wear Simulator
  • MTS Sintech Long Stroke Screw System
  • MTS Mini Frame (10kN)
  • MTS Electro-Magnetic System (1kN)
  • Eight station ASTM F897 Fretting Corrosion
  • 5-Station Pin-on-Disk Wear System
  • MTS G200 Nanoindenter
  • Admet eXpert 8602 Biaxial Load Frame (2.2 kN, 28.25 N-m)
  • TA Instruments 3220 Series III Electroforce Load Frame (225 N)

Surface Analysis

  • KRÜSS K-12 Tensiometer
  • BUEHLER Color Image Analysis System
  • Contact Angle Goniometer

Computer Modeling

Our Dell Precision T7400 graphics workstation (dual quad-core processors, 32GB RAM, 2TB HD, 512MB graphics accelerator) is a powerful platform for several finite element modeling packages. Mimics software can convert 3D models captured by our micro-CT scanner, as well as a variety of medical scanners into finite element models suitable for export to Abacus or ANSYS. Abacus software can predict the mechanically and thermally induced stress and microstrain distributions in a component or surrounding an implant. The necessary material elasticity constants are determined using our ultrasonic pulse apparatus and analytical balance. Fe-safe software works in conjunction with Abacus to predict fatigue lifetimes of components.

ALTA Pro software can analyze accelerated lifetime test data to predict product reliability and can perform Monte Carlo simulations to design more efficient fatigue tests.

Mimics (Materialise)

  • Generate finite element (FE) models from CT and MRI scans
  • Rapid prototyping interface
  • Assign material stiffness as function of radiolucency
  • 3D quantitative analyses: distances, surface areas, and volumes
  • Input formats: VFF, Raw, BMP, TIFF, DICOM, JPEG
  • Output formats: IGES, STL, VRML, PLY, INP, OUT, NAS, MSH

Abacus FEA (Simulia)with fe-safe (Safe Technology)

  • Calculate: stress, strain, displacement, temperature, fatigue life, safety factor
  • Graph types: contour plots and vector plots mapped onto component/interface or graphed along length of user defined path
  • Solution types: static, transient, mechanical, thermal, coupled thermal mechanical

25DL Plus ultrasonic thickness gauge (Panametrics-NDT)

  • Density, shear sound velocity, longitudinal sound velocity
  • Elastic constants: Poisson's ratio, Young's modulus, shear modulus, and bulk modulus

ALTA Pro (Reliasoft)

  • Model effects of temperature, load, stress, humidity, frequency, and interactive effects on lifetime
  • Model constant stress or time-varying stress
  • Step-stress accelerated lifetime testing
  • Monte Carlo simulation for power analysis and efficient fatigue test design

For more information, please contact:

  • R. Scott Williamson, PhD, Director, Biomedical Materials Science Shared Equipment Facility
    University of Mississippi Medical Center
    School of Dentistry
    Department of Biomedical Materials Science
    2500 N. State St., D528
    Jackson, MS 39216-4505
    (601) 984-6170
    Fax: (601) 984-6087