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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/D013798/1
Title: Functional bioceramic composites for enhanced and controlled bone growth in biomedical and tissue engineering applications
Principal Investigator: Bowen, Professor C
Other Investigators:
Chaudhuri, Professor JB Turner, Dr IG
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Mechanical Engineering
Organisation: University of Bath
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 October 2005 Ends: 30 September 2008 Value (£): 253,352
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Summary on Grant Application Form
This research involves collaboration between materials scientists and engineers whose research areas include functional materials, biomaterials, biochemical and tissue engineering.The research programme will explore the development of a new generation of functional bioceramic composites based on the principles of (i) accelerated or decelerated bone growth on the charged surface of polarised hydroxyapatite and (ii) the piezoelectric behaviour of bone. The concept of an induced surface charge which can enhance or suppress bone growth, depending on its polarity, can be developed by the design of biocomposites which integrate bioactive materials, such as hydroxyapatite, with ferroelectric materials which are spontaneously polarised and are piezoelectric in nature. The research programme aims to understand and quantify the influence of surface polarity, electrical properties and composite structure on acceleration and deceleration of bone growth on the substrate materials. Potential applications include a thin coating applied to the surface of a metal substrate that enhances biological fixation. Complex implants with tailored polarisation in multiple directions could allow enhanced or reduced bone growth in specific orientations relative to the implant. Bone growth may be stimulated at the areas of highest mechanical loads using the piezoelectric properties of these new biomaterials. The functional-biocomposites developed could have novel applications in the design and fabrication a wide range of biomaterial scaffolds for tissue engineering and reconstruction, such as scaffolds for enhanced growth, directed growth and development of more biocompatible substrate materials. Vibration of the substrate could offer enhanced mass transfer and allow cells and nutrients to travel more rapidly into the scaffold structure. Beneficiaries include biomedical component manufacturers, the implant and healthcare industry, hydroxyapatite plasma spray specialists and the aging population where bone loss and repair is a major issue.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.bath.ac.uk