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IronSubstituted Hydroxyapatite

Hydroxyapatite (HA) is a widely studied biomaterial for bone grafting and tissue engineering applications. The crystal structure of HA lends itself to a wide variety of substitutions, which allows for tailoring of material properties. Iron is of interest in ion substitution in HA due to its magnetic properties. The synthesis and characterization of iron-substituted hydroxyapatite (FeHA) have been widely studied, but there is a lack of studies on the sintering behaviors of FeHA materials compared to pure HA. Studying the sintering behavior of a substituted apatite provides information regarding how the substitution affects material characteristics such as stability and bulk mechanical properties, thereby providing insight into which applications are appropriate for the substituted material. In this study both pure HA and FeHA were synthesized, pressed into pellets, and then sintered at temperatures ranging from 900- 1300°C and 600-1100°C, respectively. The study thoroughly examined the comparative sintering behaviors of the two materials using density measurements, mechanical testing, X-ray diffraction, and electron microscopy. It was found that FeHA is considerably less thermally stable than pure HA, with decomposition beginning around 1200°C for pure HA samples, while at 700°C for the FeHA. The FeHA also had a much lower mechanical strength than that of the pure HA. An in vitro cell culture study was conducted by immersing FeHA powder in cell culture media, with HA powder at equivalent doses as a control, verified that FeHA is a biocompatible material. Although the FeHA would be unsuitable for bulk applications, it is a potential material for a variety of biomedical applications including drug delivery, cancer hyperthermia, and bone tissue engineering composites.


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