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The potential for bioactive ceramic surgical implants has resulted in a number of studies conducted to provide physical, mechanical, chemical, electrical, and biological property characteristics. Previous investigations are now providing the basis for ASTM F-4 standards associated with the basic material properties as they relate to implant device applications. Extensions of data on particulates and device-oriented research have resulted in coatings on higher strength substrates. The theoretical advantages of calcium phosphate ceramic coatings are multiple and include: elements normal to the biological host; moduli of elasticity similar to bone; structural bonding to bone capable of transferring tensile forces; minimal conductors of heat, electrons, and substrate elements (a physical, chemical, and electrical barrier); a color similar to bone; and an established profile for host biocompatibility. Possible limitations of coatings for musculoskeletal load-bearing application can be directly related to mechanical and biological interaction; e.g., (1) inherent fracture and fatigue strengths of the ceramic-metal interface; and (2) a susceptibility to time-dependent biodegradation by the host that is mediated by cellular- and enzymatic-based interactions during normal bone modeling and remodeling. The current emphasis on standards development should provide a basis for comparing existing and new bioactive particulates and coatings with one another, and, subsequently, correlations with clinical investigations.
biomaterials, bioactive ceramics, coatings, standard documents, material characteristics
Professor and Director, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama