Anyone interested in solid titanium encapsulated magnets?
For years, the community has been struggling to produce the "perfect" implantable magnet. This may not be the perfect one either, but it might be a promising step into the right direction. Recently I've been stumbling across a number of different companies which do laser welding of pure titanium for medical applications. These companies can work with very thing titanium, typically down to 50μm, some even lower than that.
As you probably guessed by now, the idea is to have two tiny cups of titanium to tightly fit around a magnet and weld the seam shut with a laser.
I ordered a sheet of 0.1mm thin titanium to experiment with. I used a hole punch to get small circular pieces and then hammered a metal the piece with a metal rod into somewhat-softish plastics to get a shell which fits the magnet. Unfortunately I was a bit off center but none the less here are the Pics of my old parylene coated 4mm neodym magnets and one half of the shell:
As you can see it's not a perfect fit yet, but pretty close for a 5 minute job. A proper die to press/punch the titanium into shape would be required but that's nothing too crazy. Although thin, the titanium shell is pretty hard/solid. Material thickness is equal to thin razor blades and it takes quite some force to dent/cut/crack this. Laser welding itself is done under argon-gas atmosphere, so there should be virtually no moisture inside the shell left.
The pro's and cons:
+Titanium - 1st class biocompatiblity
+Solid, robust shell, less prone to failure compared to coatings
+Protects both, magnet and body
+Moisture barrier, no humid environment for the magnet to degrade
+virtually no thermal stress for the magnet (laser welding heats only very locally, the magnet itself is pretty much untouched)
+Produced by companies doing medical instrument work on daily base (they are all based in Germany)
+Well controllable production process.
+does not require mass production, at least in theory small number runs should be possible
+mass production could be cheap ( producing shells can be done using stamping, welding takes only seconds)
-prototype costs not known
So long story short. How many of you would be interested into getting hands on one and how much would you be willing (worst case) to pay for it.
Not that I intend to rip anyone off but I sort of need some numbers to approach these companies with.