3D printing of PEEK–cHAp scaffold for medical bone implant

Bankole I. Oladapo, S. Abolfazl Zahedi, Sikiru O. Ismail, Francis T. Omigbodun, Oluwole K. Bowoto, Mattew A. Olawumi, Musa A. Muhammad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


The major drawback associated with PEEK implants is their biologically inert surface, which caused unsatisfactory cellular response and poor adhesion between the implants and surrounding soft tissues against proper bone growth. In this study, polyetheretherketone (PEEK) was incorporated with calcium hydroxyapatite (cHAp) to fabricate a PEEK–cHAp biocomposite, using the fused deposition modeling (FDM) method and a surface treatment strategy to create microporous architectures onto the filaments of PEEK lattice scaffold. Also, nanostructure and morphological tests of the PEEK–cHAp biocomposite were modeled and analyzed on the FDM-printed PEEK–cHAp biocomposite sample to evaluate its mechanical and thermal strengths as well as in vitro cytotoxicity via a scanning electron microscope (SEM). A technique was used innovatively to create and investigate the porous nanostructure of the PEEK with controlled pore size and distribution to promote cell penetration and biological integration of the PEEK–cHAp into the tissue. In vivo tests demonstrated that the surface-treated micropores facilitated the adhesion of newly regenerated soft tissues to form tight implant–tissue interfacial bonding between the cHAp and PEEK. The results of the cell culture depicted that PEEK–cHAp exhibited better cell proliferation attachment spreading and higher alkaline phosphatase activity than PEEK alone. Apatite islands formed on the PEEK–cHAp composite after immersion in simulated body fluid of Dulbecco's modified Eagle medium (DMEM) for 14 days and grew continuously with more or extended periods. The microstructure treatment of the crystallinity of PEEK was comparatively and significantly different from the PEEK–cHAp sample, indicating a better treatment of PEEK–cHAp. The in vitro results obtained from the PEEK–cHAp biocomposite material showed its biodegradability and performance suitability for bone implants. This study has potential applications in the field of biomedical engineering to strengthen the conceptual knowledge of FDM and medical implants fabricated from PEEK–cHAp biocomposite materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-59
Number of pages16
JournalBio-Design and Manufacturing
Early online date21 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • 3D printing
  • Bone implant
  • Composite morphing
  • Nanostructure
  • PEEK–cHAp biocomposite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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