Featured Publications & Reports

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Processing and Properties of Hydroxyapatite Whisker Reinforced PAEKs

This Ph.D. Dissertation by Gabriel Converse from the University of Notre Dame describes the production of hydroxyapatite (HA) whisker reinforced polyaryletherketone (PAEK) biocomposites and scaffolds with tailored mechanical properties similar to those of bone tissue. Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) was reinforced with up to 50% HA whisker reinforcement using a novel powder processing and compression molding technique. HA whisker reinforced polyetherketoneketone (PEKK) scaffolds were successfully processed with 75-90% porosity and 20-40% vol% HA whisker reinforcement. By tailoring porosity and HA whisker content, Converse achieved a spectrum of biocomposite properties ranging between those of cortical and cancellous bone.

Polyetheretherketone for Long-Term Implantable Devices

This review by David Williams provides an overview of PEEK as a biomaterial. The author notes that extremely few new polymeric materials become adopted by the medical device industry. This is partly because of the quality of existing materials and partly a consequence of the high costs of introducing new ones. The polyaryletherketones, especially polyetheretherketone (PEEK) has broken this trend and is rapidly emerging as a contender for high performance implantable applications.

2008 ORS Conference Poster: Notch Sensitivity Behavior of PEEK in Monotonic Tension

Spine and orthopedic components contain stress-risers, thus it is of interest to determine the notch sensitivity behavior of PEEK. The objective of this study was to investigate the axial true stress behavior of PEEK with and without the presence of a stress concentration. Monotonic testing to failure was conducted at 2 displacement rates (6mm/min and 30mm/min) at 37C. In this study, PEEK demonstrated significant notch sensitivity (reduction in fracture stress) in tension. The finding that PEEK notch weakens in tension supports the need for careful consideration of the location and severity of notch risers in joint replacement and other orthopaedic components.

Effects of Bioactive Laser Sintered PEEK Composites on Osteoblasts in Vitro

The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of laser sintered polyetheretherketone (PEEK) with incorporated osteoconductive and bioactive bone substitution materials on osteoblasts in vitro. Human osteoblasts (hFOB 1.19) were seeded onto laser sintered PEEK samples containing nano-sized carbon black, beta-tricalciumphosphate (beta-TCP), and bioactive glass. Laser sintered PEEK implants seem to be attractive candidates for use as bone substitutes because of their biocompatibility, individual shape, and the possibility of compounding bioinert polymer powder with osteoconductive and bioactive materials which might benefit bone formation in vivo.

In Vitro Response of Human Osteoblasts to PEEK Substrates Compared to CP Ti

In this study, different forms of implantable grade PEEK were compared with commercially pure titanium (cpTi) Grade 1 using a human primary osteoblast model. A varied response was observed at different time points during the study, suggesting that material formulation (unfilled PEEK or CFR-PEEK), subjection to industrial processing, surface roughness and topography may all influence the cellular response of osteoblasts to PEEK. Thus, differences in human osteoblast responses were found to the various samples of PEEK, but implantable grade PEEK, in general, was comparable in vitro to the bone forming capacity of rough titanium.

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