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Development of Hydroxyapatite/Polycaprolactone Composite Biomaterials for Laser Powder Bed Fusion: Evaluation of Powder Characteristics, Mechanical Properties and Biocompatibility

Hydroxyapatite/polycaprolactone (HA/PCL) composites have been extensively explored in laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF) for bone tissue engineering. However, conventional mechanical mixing methods for preparing composite powders often yield inhomogeneous compositions and suboptimal flowability. In this study, HA/PCL powders were prepared and optimized for L-PBF using the modified emulsion solvent evaporation method. The morphology, flowability and thermal and rheological properties of the powders were systematically investigated, along with the mechanical and biological properties of the fabricated specimens. The HA/PCL powders exhibited spherical morphologies with a homogeneous distribution of HA within the particles. The addition of small amounts of HA (5 wt% and 10 wt%) enhanced the processability and increased the maximum values of the elastic modulus and yield strength of the specimens from 129.8 MPa to 166.2 MPa and 20.2 MPa to 25.1 MPa, respectively, while also improving their biocompatibility. However, excessive addition resulted in compromised sinterability, thereby affecting both mechanical and biological properties.

Publication date: 07/03/2024

Author: Hongbo Yao

Reference: doi: 10.3390/polym16060731

MDPI (polymers)


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.