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Cytocompatibility and Mechanical Properties of Short Phosphate Glass Fibre Reinforced Polylactic Acid (PLA) Composites: Effect of Coupling Agent Mediated Interface

DOI: 10.3390/jfb3040706

Keywords: phosphate glass, fibre, PLA, composite, degradation, cytocompatibility, mechanical properties, coupling agent

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Abstract:

In this study three chemical agents Amino-propyl-triethoxy-silane (APS), sorbitol ended PLA oligomer (SPLA) and Hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI) were identified to be used as coupling agents to react with the phosphate glass fibre (PGF) reinforcement and the polylactic acid (PLA) polymer matrix of the composite. Composites were prepared with short chopped strand fibres (l = 20 mm, ? = 20 μm) in a random arrangement within PLA matrix. Improved, initial composite flexural strength (~20 MPa) was observed for APS treated fibres, which was suggested to be due to enhanced bonding between the fibres and polymer matrix. Both APS and HDI treated fibres were suggested to be covalently linked with the PLA matrix. The hydrophobicity induced by these coupling agents (HDI, APS) helped to resist hydrolysis of the interface and thus retained their mechanical properties for an extended period of time as compared to non-treated control. Approximately 70% of initial strength and 65% of initial modulus was retained by HDI treated fibre composites in contrast to the control, where only ~50% of strength and modulus was retained after 28 days of immersion in PBS at 37 °C. All coupling agent treated and control composites demonstrated good cytocompatibility which was comparable to the tissue culture polystyrene (TCP) control, supporting the use of these materials as coupling agent’s within medical implant devices.

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