The CaO–P2O5–SiO2–MgO system presents several compounds used as biomaterials such as hydroxyapatite (HA), tricalcium phosphate (TCP) and TCP with magnesium substituting partial calcium (TCMP). The β-TCMP phase with whitlockite structure has interesting biological features and mechanical properties, meeting the requirements of a bioactive material for bone restoration. In this work, the production of Mg-doped TCP, β-TCMP, has been investigated by crystallization from a glass composed of 52.75 wt% 3CaO·P2O5, 30 wt% SiO2 and 17.25 wt% MgO (i.e., 31.7 mol% CaO, 10.6 mol% P2O5, 26.6 mol% MgO and 31.1 mol% SiO2) using heat treatments between 775 ℃ and 1100 ℃ for up to 8 h. The devitrification process of the glass has been accompanied by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), high-resolution X-ray diffraction (HRXRD), relative density and bending strength measurements. The characterization by HRXRD and DSC revealed the occurrence of whitlockite soon after the bulk glass preparation, a transient non-cataloged silicate between 800 ℃ and 1100 ℃, and the formation of diopside in samples treated at 1100 ℃ as crystalline phases. The overall crystalline fraction varied from 26% to 70% depending on the heat treatments. Furthermore, contraction of the a-axis lattice parameter and expansion of the c-axis lattice parameter of the whitlockite structure have been observed during the heat treatments, which were attributed to the β-TCMP formation with the partial substitution of Ca2+ by Mg2+. Relative densities near 99% and 97% for the glass and glass-ceramics respectively indicated a discrete reduction as a function of the devitrification treatment. Bending strengths of 70 MPa and 120 MPa were determined for the glass and glass-ceramic material crystallized at 975 ℃ for 4 h, respectively.
The authors would like to thank LNLS - Laboratório Nacional de Luz Síncrotron for technical support, and FAPESP for financial support, under grant No. 07/50510-4. We also acknowledge Prof. E. D. Zanotto and the LaMaV, UFSCar, for melting of glass and DSC analysis.
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