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Surface-Modified Diopside-Reinforced PCL Biopolymer Composites with Enhanced Interfacial Strength and Mechanical Properties for Orthopedic Applications

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posted on 2024-02-04, 19:03 authored by Rupita Ghosh, Sneha Gupta, Shreya Mehrotra, Ashok Kumar
The phase separation of ceramics in a biopolymer matrix makes it challenging to achieve satisfactory mechanical properties required for orthopedic applications. It has been found that silane coupling agents can modify the surface of the bioceramic phase by forming a molecular bridge between the polymer and the ceramic, resulting in improved interfacial strength and adhesion. Therefore, in the present study, silane-modified diopside (DI) ceramic and ε-polycaprolactone (PCL) biopolymer composites were fabricated by injection molding method. The silane modification of DI resulted in their uniform dispersion in the PCL matrix, whereas agglomeration was found in composites containing unmodified DI. The thermal stability of the silane-modified DI-containing composites also increased. The Young’s modulus of the composite containing 50% w/w DI modified by 3% w/w silane increased by 103% compared to composites containing 50% w/w unmodified DI. The biodegradation of the unmodified composites was significantly high, indicating their weak interfacial strength with the PCL matrix (p ≤ 0.001). The osteoconductive behavior of the composites was also validated by in vitro cell–material studies. Overall, our findings supported that the silane-modified composites have improved surface roughness, mechanical, and osteoconductive properties compared to the unmodified composite and have the potential for orthopedic applications.

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