Abstract

Hydroxyapatite (HA) is commonly used as a bone substitute material, but it lacks mechanical strength when compared to native bone tissues. To improve the efficacy of HA as a bone substitute by improving the mechanical strength and cell growth attributes, porous composite scaffolds of HA and titania (HA-TiO2 ) were fabricated through a freeze-casting process. Three different compositions by weight percent, 25-75 HA-TiO2 , 50-50 HA-TiO2 , and 75-25 HA-TiO2 , were custom-made for testing. After sintering at 1250°C, these composite scaffolds exhibited improved mechanical properties compared to porous HA scaffolds. Substrate mixing was observed, which helped reduce crystal size and introduced new phases such as β-TCP and CaTiO3 , which also led to improved mechanical properties. The composition of 50-50 HA-TiO2 had the highest ultimate compressive strength of 3.12 ± 0.36 MPa and elastic modulus 63.29 ± 28.75 MPa. Human osteoblast cell proliferation assay also increased on all three different compositions when compared to porous HA at 14 days. These results highlight the potential of freeze casting composites for the fabrication of bone substitutes, which provide enhanced mechanical strength and biocompatibility while maintaining porosity.

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