Processing and bioactivity of 45S5 Bioglass®-graphene nanoplatelets composites
Well dispersed 45S5 Bioglass® (BG)-graphene nanoplatelets (GNP) composites were prepared after optimising the processing conditions. Fully dense BG nanocomposites with GNP loading of 1, 3 and 5 vol% were consolidated using Spark plasma sintering (SPS). SPS avoided any structural damage of GNP as confirmed using Raman spectroscopy. GNP increased the viscosity of BG-GNP composites resulting in an increase in the sintering temperature by ~50 °C compared to pure BG. Electrical conductivity of BG-GNP composites increased with increasing concentration of GNP. The highest conductivity of 13 S/m was observed for BG-GNP (5 vol%) composite which is ~9 orders of magnitude higher compared to pure BG. For both BG and BG-GNP composites, in vitro bioactivity testing was done using simulated body fluid for 1 and 3 days. XRD confirmed the formation of hydroxyapatite for BG and BG-GNP composites with cauliflower structures forming on top of the nano-composites surface. GNP increased the electrical conductivity of BG-GNP composites without affecting the bioactivity thus opening the possibility to fabricate bioactive and electrically conductive scaffolds for bone tissue engineering.