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Short phosphate glass fiber - PLLA composite to promote bone mineralization

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Priscila MeloORCiD, Dr Emma Tarrant, Anthony Townshend, Dr Matthew GermanORCiD, Dr Ana Ferreira-DuarteORCiD, Dr Piergiorgio GentileORCiD, Professor Kenneth Dalgarno



© 2019 Elsevier B.V.The clinical application of composites seeks to exploit the mechanical and chemical properties of materials which make up the composite, and in researching polymer composites for biomedical applications the aim is usually to enhance the bioactivity of the polymer, while maintaining the mechanical properties. To that end, in this study medical grade Poly(L-lactic) acid (PLLA) has been reinforced with short phosphate-based glass fibers (PGF). The materials were initially mixed by melting PLLA granules with the short fibers, before being extruded to form a homogenous filament, which was pelletized and used as feedstock for compression moulding. As made the composite materials had a bending strength of 51 MPa ± 5, and over the course of eight weeks in PBS the average strength of the composite material was in the range 20–50 MPa. Human mesenchymal stromal cells were cultured on the surfaces of scaffolds, and the metabolic activity, alkaline phosphatase production and mineralization monitored over a three week period. The short fiber filler made no significant difference to cell proliferation or differentiation, but had a clear and immediate osteoinductive effect, promoting mineralization by cells at the material surface. It is concluded that the PLLA/PGF composite material offers a material with both the mechanical and biological properties for potential application to bone implants and fixation, particularly where an osteoinductive effect would be valuable.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Melo P, Tarrant E, Swift T, Townshend A, German M, Ferreira AM, Gentile P, Dalgarno K

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Materials Science and Engineering C

Year: 2019

Volume: 104

Print publication date: 01/11/2019

Online publication date: 28/06/2019

Acceptance date: 27/06/2019

Date deposited: 27/06/2019

ISSN (print): 0928-4931

ISSN (electronic): 1873-0191

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


DOI: 10.1016/j.msec.2019.109929


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Funder referenceFunder name
and Glass Technology Services Ltd., Sheffield, UK.
funded in part by the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing (EP/L01534X/1),
the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacture in Medical Devices (EP/K029592/1),