Preliminary Studies on Graphene-Reinforced 3D Products Obtained by the One-Stage Sacrificial Template Method for Bone Reconstruction Applications

J Funct Biomater. 2021 Feb 12;12(1):13. doi: 10.3390/jfb12010013.

Abstract

The bone remodeling field has shifted focus towards the delineation of products with two main critical attributes: internal architectures capable to promote fast cell colonization and good mechanical performance. In this paper, Luffa-fibers and graphene nanoplatelets were proposed as porogen template and mechanical reinforcing agent, respectively, in view of framing 3D products by a one-stage polymer-free process. The ceramic matrix was prepared through a reproducible technology, developed for the conversion of marble resources into calcium phosphates (CaP) powders. After the graphene incorporation (by mechanical and ultrasonication mixing) into the CaP matrix, and Luffa-fibers addition, the samples were evaluated in both as-admixed and thermally-treated form (compact/porous products) by complementary structural, morphological, and compositional techniques. The results confirmed the benefits of the two agents' addition upon the compact products' micro-porosity and the global mechanical features, inferred by compressive strength and elastic modulus determinations. For the porous products, overall optimal results were obtained at a graphene amount of <1 wt.%. Further, no influence of graphene on fibers' ability to generate at high temperatures internal interconnected-channels-arrays was depicted. Moreover, its incorporation led to a general preservation of structural composition and stability for both the as-admixed and thermally-treated products. The developed CaP-reinforced structures sustain the premises for prospective non- and load-bearing biomedical applications.

Keywords: biogenic-calcium-phosphate; graphene; marble; mechanical features; natural template; reinforced products.