Microwave synthesis of functionally graded tricalcium phosphate for osteoconduction
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Porosity is an important parameter of biomaterials used to replace bone. Tricalcium phosphate (TCP) is a common ceramic used to substitute bone in small quantities and coat medical devices. Various urea to calcium phosphate concentration ratios (ϕ = 1, 1.5, 2.5) were used to analyze the effects of microwave irradiation on final product porosity. Results show heating in two phases: initially thermal energy is localized along the surface of the sample followed by volumetric heating. The product material is confirmed to be tricalcium phosphate via FTIR analysis. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images show increased porosity with increased urea concentration. A new method was then used to develop functionally graded porosity throughout a TCP bone cement structured that varied by controlling stoichiometry (i.e., ϕ varied from 1 to 2.5). This study provides a new perspective on volumetric combustion synthesis by using weak microwave energy to facilitate the formation of a tailored TCP structure.