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International Journal of Polymer Science
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 168924, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/168924
Research Article

Bisphenyl-Polymer/Carbon-Fiber-Reinforced Composite Compared to Titanium Alloy Bone Implant

Department of Biomaterials, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294-0007, USA

Received 21 March 2011; Revised 22 April 2011; Accepted 3 May 2011

Academic Editor: Shanfeng Wang

Copyright © 2011 Richard C. Petersen. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Aerospace/aeronautical thermoset bisphenyl-polymer/carbon-fiber-reinforced composites are considered as new advanced materials to replace metal bone implants. In addition to well-recognized nonpolar chemistry with related bisphenol-polymer estrogenic factors, carbon-fiber-reinforced composites can offer densities and electrical conductivity/resistivity properties close to bone with strengths much higher than metals on a per-weight basis. In vivo bone-marrow tests with Sprague-Dawley rats revealed far-reaching significant osseoconductivity increases from bisphenyl-polymer/carbon-fiber composites when compared to state-of-the-art titanium-6-4 alloy controls. Midtibial percent bone area measured from the implant surface increased when comparing the titanium alloy to the polymer composite from 10.5% to 41.6% at 0.8 mm, P<104, and 19.3% to 77.7% at 0.1 mm, P<108. Carbon-fiber fragments planned to occur in the test designs, instead of producing an inflammation, stimulated bone formation and increased bone integration to the implant. In addition, low-thermal polymer processing allows incorporation of minerals and pharmaceuticals for future major tissue-engineering potential.