Due to the ageing UK population, increased dynamism of people’s lives and growinglife expectancy there is an increasing clinical demand for bone replacement andrepair. The main mineral component of bone tissue is a nonstoichiometric carbonatedmulti-substituted apatite with calcium to phosphorus ratio (Ca:P) between 1.37 and1.87 . Synthetic hydroxyapatite (Ca
- HA) is a popular bonereplacement material because it has a similar crystal structure (Ca:P ratio fixed at1.67) to native bone apatite. This resemblance is the origin of the excellentcompatibility that HA exhibits with hard tissue and its natural bioactive behaviour;enabling it to be incorporated into the body via the same processes active in theremodelling of healthy bone.Currently, HA is used in a number of different applications as clinical solutions tobone defects caused by trauma or disease. These include:
Inert implant coatings (to strengthen bone-to-implant bonding)
Porous granules as void or defect fillers
Synthetic bone grafts
Hard tissue scaffoldsIn addition, HA has potential uses in other areas of medicine, for example as aninorganic drug delivery entity.To suit its numerous applications, material properties such as bioactivity andmechanical strength need to be tailored accordingly. Consequently, much researchhas been devoted to the development of synthesis methods that enable the control of chemical (e.g. crystallinity, Ca:P) and physical (e.g. porosity, particle size) powder characteristics. This paper presents a comparison and overview of the commonpreparation methodologies for HA.
Due to the existence of a myriad number of phosphate compounds the calciumphosphate system is highly complex. This is further complicated by the sensitivestability of phosphates to minor changes in: composition, pH, and reaction conditions(e.g. temperature). It is important to note that the purity and particle characteristics of the final synthesised powder can affect the bioactivity, mechanical and biologicaldissolution properties. These characteristics ultimately determine the medicalapplication of the material, thus making it imperative to develop a synthesis methodthat enables the control of: crystal morphology, chemical composition, crystallinity,particle size distribution, and agglomeration. A variety of synthesis techniques havebeen published for HA.
It is maintained in the literature that conventional wet chemicalprecipitation methods are one of the most widespread approaches due to their simplicity, ready availability and use of relatively inexpensive raw materials.Combined with the use of low reaction temperatures, the result is minimal operatingcosts. Additionally, this process is attractive to manufacturing applications due to itsscalability. However, due to the simultaneous occurrence of nucleation, crystalgrowth, coarsening and/or agglomeration, precipitation of HA cannot be viewed as