Self-healing capacity of fiber-reinforced calcium phosphate cements

A major problem concerning the mechanical properties of calcium phosphate cements (CPC) is related to their inherent brittleness, which limits their applicability to non-load bearing bone defects. In this work the preparation of a damage tolerant CPC is presented, where the incorporation of functionalized carbon fibers facilitates steady state flat crack propagation with crack openings below 10 µm. A subsequent self-healing process in simulated body fluid, that mimics the in vivo mineralization of bioactive surfaces, closes the cracks and completely restores the mechanical properties. Hereby, two pathways of self-healing are presented: i) intrinsic healing that bases on the inherent bioactive properties of the cement matrix and chemically treated fibers, and ii) capsule based extrinsic healing, where H2PO4- is released as an initiator for the apatite formation. Such damage tolerant CPCs with self-healing capacity are of particular interest to increase the lifetime of implants as well as in the field of load-bearing bioceramics.
Self-healing of CPC with respect to the restoration of mechanical properties was achieved, when two key factors, damage tolerance and ion supply are realized simultaneously.
Due to self-healing over three cycles, a high repeatability can be assumed. This offers new fields of application for the class of CPC, also potentially in load-bearing areas.
Author(s) Source
Boehm AV, Meininger S, Gbureck U, Müller FA Scientific Reports volume 10, Article number: 9430 (2020) 10.06.2020
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