Zirconia toughened alumina ceramic foams for potential bone graft applications: fabrication, bioactivation, and cellular responses
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Zirconia toughened alumina (ZTA) has been regarded as the next generation orthopedic graft material due to its excellent mechanical properties and biocompatibility. Porous ZTA ceramics with good interconnectivity can potentially be used as bone grafts for load-bearing applications. In this work, three-dimensional (3D) interconnected porous ZTA ceramics were fabricated using a direct foaming method with egg white protein as binder and foaming agent. The results showed that the porous ZTA ceramics possessed a bimodal pore size distribution. Their mechanical properties were comparable to those of cancellous bone. Due to the bio-inertness of alumina and zirconia ceramics, surface bioactivation of the ZTA foams was carried out in order to improve their bioactivity. A simple NaOH soaking method was employed to change the surface chemistry of ZTA through hydroxylation. Treated samples were tested by conducting osteoblast-like cell culture in vitro. Improvement on cells response was observed and the strength of porous ZTA has not been deteriorated after the NaOH treatment. The porous ‘bioactivated’ ZTA ceramics produced here could be potentially used as non-degradable bone grafts for load-bearing applications.
KeywordsFoam Compressive Strength MG63 Cell Weibull Modulus Porous Ceramic
Dr. RP Shellis was thanked for his help to use FTIR instrument and useful discussions. Dr. S Dhara was thanked for initial discussion.
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