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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/C544811/1
Title: Novel Routes to Porous Ceramic Scaffolds by Use of Cold Isostatic Pressing and Polymer Templating
Principal Investigator: Walsh, Dr D
Other Investigators:
Oreffo, Professor R
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
University of Bologna
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: University of Bristol
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 September 2005 Ends: 31 August 2008 Value (£): 138,513
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Characterisation Materials Processing
Tissue Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Chemicals Healthcare
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
22 Mar 2005 EURYI Central Panel Deferred
11 Apr 2005 Materials Fellowships 2005 Interview Panel Deferred
17 Mar 2005 Materials Fellowships 2005 Sift Panel Deferred
Summary on Grant Application Form
This proposal is multi-faceted with an overall aim to investigate novel routes to porous inorganic scaffolds composed of organized nanoparticles (calcium phosphate, Ag, iron oxide) by methods that give good yields at low cost and use processes suitable for industrial production. The materials produced have potential use in biomedicine and fuel-cell catalysis for energy production. The proposed work is timely in that it addresses the immediate problems of quality of life for the aging population, antibiotic drug resistance and energy production from fuel cells. The methodologies proposed use either very recent or new innovations and techniques and involve materials at the nano and macroscale.Major projectThe conventional medical technique of bone grafting is set to be replaced by use of shaped living bone that is composed of the patient's cells and produced by stem cell seeding of porous bioceramic scaffolds. Soon there will be a large requirement for scaffolds with specific porosity, strength and composition. Also, there is an urgent need for the preparation of porous scaffolds of calcium phosphate composed of crystals loaded with drugs for treatment of bone diseases or infection. Current techniques have relied on taking bone from other locations on the patient or from other biological sources, both of which have major drawbacks. Synthetic preparations of porous bodies have relied on heating of ceramic mixtures to high temperatures with a sacrificial organic material as porogen. Thus the use of cold isostatic pressing (CIP) of nanocrystalline materials together with a sacrificial polymer template to provide porosity is proposed. This technique will allow nanocrystalline porous bodies to be formed with a larger and more biologically active surface, with controlled porosity and composition, and in good yield. As heating can be avoided, bone promoting chemicals or drugs can be loaded onto the nanocrystals during preparations. The project will use a small-scale laboratory press that is potentially easy to scale up for large-scale production. It is not yet well understood how CIP can form strong materials without alteration of the size and shape of nanocrystal components. Thus the mechanism by which high strength biomaterials materials are obtained in this project will be investigated by TEM, electron diffraction, FEG-SEM and AFM.Related projectsUse of percutaneous tubing, i.e. tubing that enters the body, in medical applications is associated with serious problems of infection. Silver is known to have good antimicrobial properties even at low concentration levels. Importantly following extensive testing and clinical experience, no evidence has emerged of resistance or cytotoxicity to nanocrystalline silver. A simple and new method for incorporating silver nanoparticles into percutaneous tubing materials will be investigated, based on the treatment of an organic silver salt in combination with a biopolymer.Dextran, is a soluble glucose polymer which Dr Walsh has previously found to have excellent fibre and sponge generating properties. Multifunctional microporous materials such as haematite scaffolds decorated with gold nanoparticles for use in fuel cells for carbon monoxide oxidation will be developed by dextran templating. Additionally silver sponges of good mechanical strength will be developed as shaped materials for heat dissipation of computer processors.The research will be undertaken at the School of Chemistry, University of Bristol, UK with project partners at the Department of Chemistry, University of Bologna, Italy and the School of Medicine, University of Southampton, UK.
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