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Biomaterials. 2007 Feb;28(6):927-35. Epub 2006 Nov 17.

Processing and tensile properties of hydroxyapatite-whisker-reinforced polyetheretherketone.

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  • 1Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, The University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA.


Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) was reinforced with 0-50 vol% hydroxyapatite (HA) whiskers using a novel powder processing and compression molding technique which enabled uniform mixing at high whisker content. Texture analysis showed that viscous flow during compression molding produced a preferred orientation of whiskers along the specimen tensile axis. Consequently, the elastic modulus or ultimate tensile strength of HA-whisker-reinforced PEEK was able to be tailored to mimic human cortical bone. PEEK reinforced with 40 and 50 vol% HA whiskers exhibited elastic moduli of 17 and 23 GPa, respectively. Elastic constants were measured using ultrasonic wave propagation and revealed an orthotropic anisotropy also similar to that measured in human cortical bone. PEEK reinforced with 10 and 20 vol% HA whiskers exhibited an ultimate tensile strength of 90 and 75 MPa, respectively. Tensile specimen fracture surfaces showed evidence of brittle failure in both reinforced and un-reinforced PEEK. Whisker pullout was observed with PEEK adhered to HA whiskers, suggesting a relatively strong interface between the PEEK matrix and HA whisker reinforcements.

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