The rational synthesis, comprehensive characterization, and mechanical and micromechanical properties of a calcium phosphate cement are presented. Hydroxyapatite cement biomaterial was synthesized from reactive sub-micrometer-sized dicalcium phosphate dihydrate and tetracalcium phosphate via a dissolution-precipitation reaction using water as the liquid phase. As a result nanostructured, Ca-deficient and carbonated B-type hydroxyapatite is formed. The cement shows good processibility, sets in 22 ± 2 min and entirely transforms to the end product after 6 h of setting reaction, one of the highest conversion rates among previously reported for calcium phosphate cements based on dicalcium and tetracalcium phosphates. The combination of all elucidated physical-chemical traits leads to an essential bioactivity and biocompatibility of the cement, as revealed by in vitro acellular simulated body fluid and cell culture studies. The compressive strength of the produced cement biomaterial was established to be 25 ± 3 MPa. Furthermore, nanoindentation tests were performed directly on the cement to probe its local elasticity and plasticity at sub-micrometer/micrometer level. The measured elastic modulus and hardness were established to be Es = 23 ± 3.5 and H = 0.7 ± 0.2 GPa, respectively. These values are in close agreement with those reported in literature for trabecular and cortical bones, reflecting good elastic and plastic coherence between synthesized cement biomaterial and human bones.
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