Processing and Properties of Poly(ether-ether ketone) Composites Reinforced with Carbon Nanotubes and/or Hydroxyapatite Nanofillers for Biomedical Applications

Project: Research

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Metallic Co-Cr, stainless steel and titanium-based alloys are widely used as implanted materials for orthopedic applications. However, metallic alloys generally suffer from corrosion and stress-shielding problems. In this respect, polymer composites reinforced with carbon fibers or hydoxyapatites (HA) particulates of micrometer sizes find extensive applications in clinical surgery. Poly(ether-ether ketone) (PEEK) is a semicrystalline polymer exhibiting good chemical, wear and fatigue resistances and biological inertness. PEEK reinforced with carbon fiber has been fabricated into hip joint stems, screws and bone plates.Recently, there has been an increasing need to develop and manufacture new composite materials having good biocompatibility and mechanical properties for bone replacements in orthopedics. PEEK nanocomposites reinforced with multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) and/or HA nanofillers show potential applications as load-bearing orthopedic implants. MWNTs with low density, high flexibility, excellent mechanical, and electrical properties together with good biocompatibility make them particular attractive reinforcing fillers for polymer nanocomposites. PEEK nanocomposites reinforced with MWNTs and/or HA nanofillers will be prepared via high shear-rate meltmixing followed by injection molding. Their structure, morphology, mechanical and biocompatibility will be investigated in this project. The biological and mechanical properties of polymer nanocomposites can be tailored by varying the volume content and aspect ratios of nanofillers. The experimental results of the project can provide useful information relating the optimum nanofiller contents needed to achieve excellent mechanical and biocompatibility in PEEK nanocomposites. Such nanocomposites produced are potential implanted materials for orthopedic applications due to their capability for promoting bone growth.


Project number9041379
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/08/081/03/11