Article

Tungsten Disulfide Nanotubes Reinforced Biodegradable Polymers for Bone Tissue Engineering.

Department of Biomedical Engineering, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-5281, USA.
Acta Biomaterialia (Impact Factor: 5.68). 07/2013; 9(9):8365–8373. DOI: 10.1016/j.actbio.2013.05.018
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In this study, we have investigated the efficacy of inorganic nanotubes as reinforcing agents to improve the mechanical properties of poly(propylene fumarate) (PPF) composites as a function of nanomaterial loading concentration (0.01-0.2 wt%). Tungsten disulfide nanotubes (WSNTs) were used as reinforcing agents in the experimental groups. Single- and multi- walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs and MWCNTs) were used as positive controls, and crosslinked PPF composites were used as baseline control. Mechanical testing (compression and three-point bending) shows a significant enhancement (up to 28-190%) in the mechanical properties (compressive modulus, compressive yield strength, flexural modulus, and flexural yield strength) of WSNT reinforced PPF nanocomposites compared to the baseline control. In comparison to positive controls, at various concentrations, significant improvements in the mechanical properties of WSNT nanocomposites were also observed. In general, the inorganic nanotubes (WSNTs) showed a better (up to 127%) or equivalent mechanical reinforcement compared to carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs and MWCNTs). Sol fraction analysis showed significant increases in the crosslinking density of PPF in the presence of WSNTs (0.01-0.2 wt%). Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis on thin sections of crosslinked nanocomposites showed the presence of WSNTs as individual nanotubes in the PPF matrix, whereas SWCNTs and MWCNTs existed as micron sized aggregates. The trend in the surface area of nanostructures obtained by BET surface area analysis was SWCNTs > MWCNTs > WSNTs. The BET surface area analysis, TEM analysis, and sol fraction analysis results taken together suggest that chemical composition (inorganic vs. carbon nanomaterials), presence of functional groups (such as sulfide and oxysulfide), and individual dispersion of the nanomaterials in the polymer matrix (absence of aggregation of the reinforcing agent) are the key parameters affecting the mechanical properties of nanostructure-reinforced PPF composites, and the reason for the observed increases in the mechanical properties compared to the baseline and positive controls.

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