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Bio Mimetic

Bio Mimetic

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Published by: balajirajasekaran on Apr 29, 2012
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12/03/2012

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In Chapter 2, we have described how HA is widely used for bone repair and

tissue engineering due to its biocompatibility, osteoconductivity, and osteoin-

ductivity. Through osteoconduction mechanisms, HA can form chemical bonds

with living tissue. However, its poor biomechanical properties (brittle, low

tensile strength, high elastic modulus, low fatigue strength, and low flexibility),

when compared with natural hard tissues, limit its applications to components

of small, unloaded, or low-loaded implants. One strategy to overcome this

difficulty is to combine the bioactive ceramics with a ductile material, such as a

polymer to produce composites. In recent years, the development of nano-

technology has shifted the composite synthesis towards the nanocomposite

fabrication.

Nanocomposites are materials that are created by introducing nanoparticles

(often referred to as filler) into a macroscopic sample material (often referred to

as matrix). The main characteristic of nanocomposites is that the filler has at

least one dimension in the range 1–100 nm. Currently, these materials constitute

an important topic in the field of nanotechnology. Nanomaterial additives can

provide very important advantages in comparison to both their conventional

Figure 4.3 Formation process of oriented attachment of HA nanorods assisted by
dodecylamine.

129

Clinical Applications of Apatite-Derived Nanoceramics

filler counterparts and base polymer. Figure 4.4 collects some of the most impor-

tant advantages in materials science, highlighting the main properties with

outstanding importance for bone-grafting applications: mechanical properties

and biocompatibility and surface features improvement.

Several bioceramics have been used for the fabrication of nanocomposites.

Among them we can highlight:

Alumina (Al2O3)
Zirconia (ZrO2)
Hydroxyapatite (Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2)

Alumina and zirconia belong to the first generation of bioceramics, charac-

terised by an almost inert response after implantation and acceptable mech-

anical properties. Alumina has been used as a bearing couple in total hip

replacement since the 1970s. As an artificial femoral head, alumina has dem-

onstrated even better mechanical behaviour than metals, since its polished

surface exhibit excellent wear resistance and produces less debris.54

The

osteoblast viability has been studied in the presence of nanosized alumina and

titania particles, observing better cell proliferation independently of the

chemical composition.55

Several inorganic-inorganic nanocomposites such as

alumina-zirconia and alumina-titania have been fabricated employing techni-

ques like transformation-assisted consolidation and plasma spraying.56

These

combinations have resulted in nanocomposites with better fracture toughness

and mechanical strength.

Zirconia exhibits chemical stability together with a good mechanical per-

formance. For this reasons it has been used as a hard-tissue-repairing bio-

material. However, zirconia presents a similar drawback to alumina, i.e. ageing.

Figure 4.4 Advantages of nanocomposites respect to conventional composites. Those
features related with biomaterials field are highlighted.

130

Chapter 4

Degradation of zirconia is attributed to the transition of the tetragonal to

monoclinic phase, followed by the occurrence of cracks from the surface to the

inner bulk. Currently, yttria-stabilised zirconia (YSZ) is the preferred material

for making ball heads.57

Recently, hydroxyapatite/YSZ nanocomposites have

been obtained with approximately 99% of the theoretical density.58

These

nanocomposites show improved mechanical properties (flexural strength and

fracture toughness), which can be explained in terms of a uniform YSZ particle

distribution in a nano-HA matrix that hinders the HA grain growth during the

thermal treatment.

Although nanosized alumina, zirconia and titania can provide excellent

mechanical properties as biomaterial components, none of them exhibit the

biomimetic characteristic of nano-HA. Since this text is mainly devoted to nano-

ceramics with biomimetic properties, special attention will be paid to composites

formed by nano-HA as inorganic filler.

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