Mechanical Characterization of Dense Hydroxyapatite Blocks
Bioactive dense HAp ceramics possess a unique set of properties, which make them suitable as bone substitute. However, both physical and mechanical properties of HAp have to be evaluated in order to produce new materials that match the bone stiffness. This paper highlights the influence of both porosity and grain size on the four-point flexural strength and the indentation fracture toughness of pure dense HAp blocks sintered at 1300°C. Both discs and rectangular bars were produced by uniaxial pressing at 40MPa and sintered in static air at temperatures between 1150 and 1325°C for 1 h in order to assess the densification behaviour of the P120S medical grade HAp powder used. After sintering, both the density and the open porosity were measured. In addition to FT-IR, XRD and SEM, the mechanical properties of the dense HAp blocks, including Young´s modulus, flexural strength, Vicker´s hardness and fracture toughness, were characterized and whenever possible these properties were compared to those reported for cortical bone. Pressureless sintering to full density at temperatures below 1300°C does not occur for the stoichiometric powder used. The results obtained underline the importance of full mechanical characterisation of dense HAp so that new implant materials can be developed. There is a need to improve the microstructure and thus enhance mechanical strength of HAp ceramics, as it was found that flexural strength is closely related to the micropores present in the sintered samples.
Paula Maria Vilarinho
C. M.S. Ranito, F. A. C. Oliveira, J. P. Borges, "Mechanical Characterization of Dense Hydroxyapatite Blocks", Materials Science Forum, Vols. 514-516, pp. 1083-1086, 2006