Calcium phosphate cements (CPCs) are frequently used as synthetic bone substitute, but their intrinsic low fracture toughness impedes their application in highly loaded skeletal sites. However, fibers can be used to reduce the brittleness of these CPCs provided that the affinity between the fibers and cement matrix facilitates the transfer of loads from the matrix to the fibers. The aim of the present work was to improve the interface between hydrophobic polylactic acid (PLA) microfibers and hydrophilic CPC. To this end, calcium-binding alendronate groups were conjugated onto the surface of PLA microfibers via different strategies to immobilize a tunable amount of alendronate onto the fiber surface. CPCs reinforced with PLA fibers revealed toughness values which were up to 50-fold higher than unreinforced CPCs. Nevertheless, surface functionalization of PLA microfibers with alendronate groups did not improve the mechanical properties of fiber-reinforced CPCs.
Full Access Link: Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials