Hybrid Polymer&ndash;Inorganic Coatings Enriched with Carbon Nanotubes on Ti-6Al-4V Alloy for Biomedical Applications
Bone tissue degeneration, caused by disease as well as trauma, is a problem affecting many social groups in the 21st century. It involves pain and reduced patient comfort. Developments in materials engineering allow for the design of novel, innovative materials that can be used in therapies to promote bone regeneration. This work presents the preparation of a ceramic&ndash;polymer coating modified with carbon nanotubes on a titanium alloy for biomedical applications. The ceramic part is hydroxyapatite synthesized by the wet precipitation method using orthophosphate and calcium hydroxide. The polymer of choice was polyethylene glycol. A UV light synthesis method was successfully applied to obtain coatings characterized by continuity and full crosslinking. Extensive physicochemical analysis and incubation studies were carried out. Interactions between coatings and fluids mimicking artificial biological environments were analyzed for 9 days, i.e., in fluids such as SBF solution, artificial saliva, and distilled water. During the in vitro incubation, changes in pH values were measured by potentiometric tests, and ionic conductivity was measured by analyzing conductometry. After incubation, the surface morphology was studied by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) together with energy-dispersive (EDS) microanalysis, which made it possible to determine the presence of individual elements on the surface, as well as to observe the appearance of new apatite layers. Fourier-transform infrared (FT-IR) spectrometry was also performed before and at the end of the incubation period. On the basis of the presented studies, it was concluded that coatings that contain nanotubes are bioactive and do not negatively affect the properties of the coatings. Bioactivity was confirmed microscopically by observing new apatite layers after incubation in SBF, which were identified as phosphorus and calcium deposits. Degradation of the polymer phase was observed in the artificial saliva. These materials require further study, including safety analysis, but they demonstrate potential for further work.