Calcified Tissue Research

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 243–248 | Cite as

An X-ray study of the paracrystalline nature of bone apatite

  • E. J. Wheeler
  • D. Lewis
Original Papers


X-ray diffraction patterns from oriented bone sections show that the crystalline apatite content of untreated mature cortical bovine bone has, in fact, a paracrystalline structure (i.e., no long range order). There is anisotropy in both lattice distortions and the sizes of the coherently diffracting domains. The paracrystalline mean distance fluctuations, (g) were found to be 1.5 (±0.1)% and 2.9 (±0.2)% for the basal and prism planes respectively, the corresponding paracrystalline sizes being 220 (±20) and 70 (±10) Å. The paracrystalline structure became more ordered above 600°C, suggesting the association of hydroxyl and possibly carbonate and other ions with the paracrystalline structure. The paracrystalline model for bone apatite helps explain anomalies between X-ray and electron microscope measurements of crystal size and also some of the biological functions of the crystalline apatite.

Key words

Paracrystallinity Hydroxyapatite Bone 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. J. Wheeler
    • 1
  • D. Lewis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemical PhysicsUniversity of SurreyGuildfordUK

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