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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2014, Article ID 802435, 8 pages
Research Article

In Vitro Degradation of Poly(caprolactone)/nHA Composites

Departamento de Ingeniería Minera, Metalúrgica y Ciencia de Materiales, Escuela Técnica Superior de Náutica y Máquinas Navales, Universidad del País Vasco (UPV/EHU), María Díaz de Haro 68, 48920 Portugalete, Spain

Received 30 April 2014; Revised 11 September 2014; Accepted 15 September 2014; Published 30 October 2014

Academic Editor: Zhongkui Hong

Copyright © 2014 Esperanza Díaz et al. 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.


The degradation behavior and mechanical properties of polycaprolactone/nanohydroxyapatite composite scaffolds are studied in phosphate buffered solution (PBS), at 37°C, over 16 weeks. Under scanning electron microscopy (SEM), it was observed that the longer the porous scaffolds remained in the PBS, the more significant the thickening of the pore walls of the scaffold morphology was. A decrease in the compressive properties, such as the modulus and the strength of the PCL/nHA composite scaffolds, was observed as the degradation experiment progressed. Samples with high nHA concentrations degraded more significantly in comparison to those with a lower content. Pure PCL retained its mechanical properties comparatively well in the study over the period of degradation. After the twelfth week, the results obtained by GPC analysis indicated a significant reduction in their molecular weight. The addition of nHA particles to the scaffolds accelerated the weight loss of the composites and increased their capacity to absorb water during the initial degradation process. The addition of these particles also affected the degradation behavior of the composite scaffolds, although they were not effective at compensating the decrease in pH prompted by the degradation products of the PCL.