Hydroxyapatite (HA) is the most substantial mineral constituent of a bone which has been extensively used in medicine as implantable materials, owing to its good biocompatibility, bioactivity high osteoconductive, and/or osteoinductive properties. Nevertheless, its mechanical property is not utmost appropriate for a bone substitution. Therefore, a composite consist of HA and a biodegradable polymer is usually prepared to generate an apt bone scaffold. In the present work polycaprolactone (PCL), a newly remarkable biocompatible and biodegradable polymer, was employed as a matrix and hydroxyapatite nanoparticles were used as a reinforcement element of the composite. HA/PCL nanocomposites were synthesized by a new in situ sol-gel process using calcium hydroxide and phosphoric acid precursors in the presence of Tetrahydrofuran (THF) as a solvent. Chemical and physical characteristics of the nanocomposite were studied by X-ray diffraction (XRD), field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM) and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) analyses. The results indicated that pure HA nanoparticles were well-incorporated and homogenously dispersed in the PCL matrix. It was found that the mechanical property of PCL was improved by addition of 20 wt.% HA nanoparticles. Furthermore, the biological property of nanocomposites was investigated under in vitro condition. For this purpose, HA/PCL scaffolds were prepared through a salt leaching process and immersed in a saturated simulated body fluid (SBF) after 3 and 7 days. It was found that a uniform layer of biomimetic HA could be deposited on the surface of HA/PCL scaffolds. Therefore, the prepared HA/PCL scaffolds showed good potential for bone tissue engineering and could be used for many clinical applications in orthopedic and maxillofacial surgery.
- In situ sol-gel process