Mechanical behaviour of degradable phosphate glass fibres and composites: a review

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Colquhoun, R. ; Tanner, K.E. (2016)

Biodegradable materials are potentially an advantageous alternative to the traditional metallic fracture fixation devices used in the reconstruction of bone tissue defects. This is due to the occurrence of stress shielding in the surrounding bone tissue that arises from the absence of mechanical stimulus to the regenerating bone due to the mismatch between the elastic modulus of bone and the metal implant. However although degradable polymers may alleviate such issues, these inert materials possess insufficient mechanical properties to be considered as a suitable alternative to current metallic devices at sites of sufficient mechanical loading.\ud \ud Phosphate based glasses are an advantageous group of materials for tissue regenerative applications due to their ability to completely degrade in vivo at highly controllable rates based on the specific glass composition. Furthermore the release of the glass's constituent ions can evoke a therapeutic stimulus in vivo (i.e. osteoinduction) whilst also generating a bioactive response. The processing of these materials into fibres subsequently allows them to act as reinforcing agents in degradable polymers to simultaneously increase its mechanical properties and enhance its in vivo response.\ud \ud However despite the various review articles relating to the compositional influences of different phosphate glass systems, there has been limited work summarising the mechanical properties of different phosphate based glass fibres and their subsequent incorporation as a reinforcing agent in degradable composite materials. As a result, this review article examines the compositional influences behind the development of different phosphate based glass fibre compositions intended as composite reinforcing agents along with an analysis of different potential composite configurations. This includes variations in the fibre content, matrix material and fibre architecture as well as other novel composites designs.
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