Preparation and characterization of porous hydroxyapatite pellets: effects of calcination and sintering on the porous structure and mechanical properties
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In this study, porous hydroxyapatite structures were produced by using urea particles of 600-850 mu m size. Samples with two different urea composition (25 and 50 wt%) were prepared along with samples without any urea content by adding urea to commercially available hydroxyapatite in its as purchased and calcined states. The produced pellets were sintered at 1100 degrees C and 1200 degrees C for 2 h. Compression tests and microhardness measurements were conducted and changes in density values were examined in order to determine the effect of the calcination state of the prior hydroxyapatite powder, the sintering temperature and the amount of urea added. Also X-ray diffraction, Fourier transform infrared, and scanning electron microscopy analyses were conducted to determine the phase stability, functional groups, and pore morphology, respectively. Calcination is found to negatively affect the densification and sinterability of the produced samples, resulting in a decrease of compressive strength and microhardness. With the control of the urea content and sintering temperature uncalcined hydroxyapatite can successfully be used to tailor the density and mechanical properties of the final porous structures.