Author(s): Balla VK, Bodhak S, Bose S, Bandyopadhyay A
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Abstract The relatively high cost of manufacturing and the inability to produce modular implants have limited the acceptance of tantalum, in spite of its excellent in vitro and in vivo biocompatibility. In this article, we report how to process Ta to create net-shape porous structures with varying porosity using Laser Engineered Net Shaping (LENS) for the first time. Porous Ta samples with relative densities between 45\% and 73\% have been successfully fabricated and characterized for their mechanical properties. In vitro cell materials interactions, using a human fetal osteoblast cell line, have been assessed on these porous Ta structures and compared with porous Ti control samples. The results show that the Young's modulus of porous Ta can be tailored between 1.5 and 20 GPa by changing the pore volume fraction between 27\% and 55\%. In vitro biocompatibility in terms of MTT assay and immunochemistry study showed excellent cellular adherence, growth and differentiation with abundant extracellular matrix formation on porous Ta structures compared to porous Ti control. These results indicate that porous Ta structures can promote enhanced/early biological fixation. The enhanced in vitro cell-material interactions on the porous Ta surface are attributed to its chemistry, its high wettability and its greater surface energy relative to porous Ti. Our results show that these laser-processed porous Ta structures can find numerous applications, particularly among older patients, for metallic implants because of their excellent bioactivity. Copyright 2010 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Acta Biomater
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