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Bone regeneration is of great importance worldwide, because of various bone diseases, such as infections, tumors, and resultant fracture, birth defects, and bone loss due to trauma, explosion, or accident. Bone regeneration can be achieved by several materials and templates manufactured through various fabrication techniques. Uses of different materials and scaffold fabrication techniques have been explored over the past 20 years. In this research, polyetheretherketone (PEEK) was used to fabricate highly porous bionanocomposite foams for bone scaffolding. Melt casting and salt porogen (200-500 µm size) leaching methods were adapted to create an adequate pore size and the necessary percent of porosity, because pore size plays a vital role in cell implantation and growth. Porosity (75% and 85%) of the prepared scaffolds was adjusted by changing salt concentrations in the PEEK powder. Hydroxyapatite (HA) and carbon particles were used to improve cell attachments and interactions with the porous PEEK and to increase the mechanical properties of the scaffold materials. Carbon fiber (CF) and carbon nanotubes (CNTs) were uniformly dispersed into the PEEK powder before melt casting to enhance the mechanical properties and to observe the influence of the carbon particles on the properties of PEEK bionanocomposite foam. Compression test results of the fabricated bionanocomposites showed that HA and carbon particles are the potential filler materials for the enhancement of bionanocomposite mechanical properties. About 186% enhancement of compression modulus and 43% enhancement of yield strength were observed while incorporating only 0.5 wt% of CNTs into PEEK/HA bionanocomposites having 75% porosity, compared to PEEK/HA 20 wt% bionanocomposites. Micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) test results reveal that pore size and interconnectivity of the nanocomposite foams are in order and within the designed sizes. Mechanical tests proved that PEEK bionanocomposite foam has the potential for use in bone scaffolding and other biomedical applications.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Progress in biomaterials
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