Cements from nanocrystalline hydroxyapatite
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Calcium phosphate cements are used as bone substitute materials because they may be moulded to fill a void or defect in bone and are osteoconductive. Although apatite cements are stronger than brushite cements, they are potentially less resorbable in vivo. Brushite cements are three-component systems whereby phosphate ions and water react with a soluble calcium phosphate to form brushite (CaHPO4·2H2O). Previously reported brushite cement formulations set following the mixture of a calcium phosphate, such as β-tricalcium phosphate (β-TCP), with an acidic component such as H3PO4 or monocalcium phosphate monohydrate (MCPM). Due to its low solubility, hydroxyapatite (HA) is yet to be reported as a reactive component in calcium phosphate cement systems. Here we report a new cement system setting to form a matrix consisting predominantly of brushite following the mixture of phosphoric acid with nanocrystalline HA. As a result of the relative ease with which ionic substitutions may be made in apatite this route may offer a novel way to control cement composition or setting characteristics. Since kinetic solubility is dependent on particle size and precipitation temperature is known to affect precipitated HA crystal size, the phase composition and mechanical properties of cements made from HA precipitated at temperatures between 4 and 60 °C were investigated.
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