Sophie Cox, a doctoral researcher at WMG based in the materials and manufacturing theme group recently undertook an internship with Ceram, an independent materials technology company. Sophie joined Ceram’s biomaterials innovation team to further her commercial understanding of the synthesis and testing of medical materials, specifically hydroxyapatite (HA).

HA is a popular bone replacement material because it is chemically and crystallographically similar to native bone mineral. It is used in a number of clinical applications, including inert implant coatings, void or defect fillers, bone grafts, hard tissue scaffolds and drug delivery entities. Control of chemical (e.g. crystallinity) and physical (e.g. particle size) characteristics of HA is important as such properties ultimately define in-service performance e.g. bioactivity and mechanical strength

During the internship Sophie investigated and compared a range of common HA synthesis methods according to a pre-defined set of criteria that culminated with a white paper published on Ceram’s website. Furthermore, utilising Ceram’s state-of-the-art reaction vessel Sophie was able to produce HA under a range of controlled conditions to further understand the influence of these parameters on the characteristic properties of the resultant product. Further investigation is being completed at WMG as part of Sophie’s doctoral thesis.

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