While commercial biomedical titanium alloys present excellent biocompatibility and corrosion resistance, their poor wear resistance remains a major limitation. In this study, alloying with aluminum was used to improve the tribological performance of an experimental Ti−Si−Zr alloy. The effect of Al content on the alloy's microstructure and mechanical properties was evaluated using X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and Vickers hardness measurements. Sliding wear testing was performed in a ball-on-disk setup, using stainless steel and silicon nitride counterparts and serum solution lubrication. Microstructural examinations showed that an increase in Al content induced a change from eutectic cell microstructure to regular near-equiaxed particles and produced a solid solution strengthening, increasing alloy's hardness. The adhesive tendencies of the α-Ti matrix to the counterpart dominated the frictional response, and a lower friction coefficient was found against silicon nitride compared to stainless steel. In wear tests against stainless steel counterparts, the alloys showed significantly higher wear rates than the CoCr and Ti−6Al−4V references due to severe abrasive wear, induced by the adhesion of titanium matrix to the counterpart. The Al addition had a positive effect on the wear resistance against silicon nitride due to the solid solution strengthening and the change in microstructure, which reduced the risk of brittle delamination. However, while this gave a trend for a lower wear rate against silicon nitride than the Ti−6Al−4V alloy, the wear rate was still approximately three times higher than that of CoCr.

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