In the current investigation, annealing was employed as a means to improve the mechanical performance of 316LVM coronary stents. Two different temperatures (1000 degrees C and 1150 degrees C) were explored for the thermal processing of the device. Acid pickling was done as a pre-annealing step to remove the debris and slag material attached to the stent after laser cutting. Post annealing operation involved the electrochemical polishing of the device which was also a parameter for assessment of the feasibility of the annealing process. Microstructural characterization, balloon expandability and tensile testing of the stents were performed to characterize the properties after thermal treatment. A fine grained austenitic structure with marked improvement in the % elongation (>40%) could be achieved after annealing the stents at 1000 degrees C. Balloon expandability tests of the stents annealed at 1000 degrees C indicated that the device was implantable.
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