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J Mech Behav Biomed Mater. 2014 Feb;30:347-57. doi: 10.1016/j.jmbbm.2013.10.012. Epub 2013 Oct 25.

Porous poly(para-phenylene) scaffolds for load-bearing orthopedic applications.

Author information

  • 1University of Wyoming, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Laramie, WY 82071, USA.
  • 2University of Colorado Denver, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Denver, CO, USA.
  • 3INM-Leibniz Institute for New Materials, Functional Surfaces Group, Saarbrücken, Germany.
  • 4Development and Plate-Design, AG der Dillinger Hüttenwerke, Dillingen, Germany.
  • 5MedShape Inc., Department of Research & Development, Atlanta, GA, USA.
  • 6University of Wyoming, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Laramie, WY 82071, USA. Electronic address:


The focus of this study was to fabricate and investigate the mechanical behavior of porous poly(para-phenylene) (PPP) for potential use as a load-bearing orthopedic biomaterial. PPPs are known to have exceptional mechanical properties due to their aromatic backbone; however, the manufacturing and properties of PPP porous structures have not been previously investigated. Tailored porous structures with either small (150-250µm) or large (420-500µm) pore sizes were manufactured using a powder-sintering/salt-leaching technique. Porosities were systematically varied using 50 to 90vol%. Micro-computed tomography (µCT) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) were used to verify an open-cell structure and investigate pore morphology of the scaffolds. Uniaxial mechanical behavior of solid and porous PPP samples was characterized through tensile and compressive testing. Both modulus and strength decreased with increasing porosity and matched well with foam theory. Porous scaffolds showed a significant decrease in strain-to-failure (<4%) under tensile loading and experienced linear elasticity, plastic deformation, and densification under compressive loading. Over the size ranges tested, pore size did not significantly influence the mechanical behavior of the scaffolds on a consistent basis. These results are discussed in regards to use of porous PPP for orthopedic applications and a prototype porous interbody fusion cage is presented.

© 2013 Published by Elsevier Ltd.


Biomedical devices; Mechanical behavior; Poly(para-phenylenes); Porous biomaterials; Scanning electron microscopy

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