There are several synthesis techniques to obtain hydroxyapatite (HAp). Some use surfactant agents, amino acids or halogen salts to control structural nucleation and crystal growth. In others, the use of hydrothermal process to carry out the reaction is effective for HAp synthesis. Microwave-assisted hydrothermal method (MAHM) has been successfully applied in the synthesis of HAp nanostructures, which present well-defined morphologies, high crystallinity and high purity. This is important because nano-HAp is attracting interest as a biomaterial for use in prosthetic applications due to its similarity in size, crystallinity and chemical composition with human hard tissue. In this chapter, developments in obtaining HAp nanofibers, with a crystal growth with preferential orientation, as well as morphology control achieved by using the MAHM is discussed. Also, the synthesized fibers were used to cast ceramics with controlled and interconnected porosity through the modified gelcasting process. Then, these HAp ceramics were impregnated with a water solution of gelatin in order to obtain an organic-inorganic composite material, similar to natural bone tissue. The maximum compressive strengths were determined and the composite materials showed mechanical properties that make them suitable to be used as bone tissue implants.
Part of the book: Hydroxyapatite
Geopolymers have been widely used for construction and building materials. Nevertheless, some other applications have been found from their ability to be ion exchanged. An example is the encapsulation of heavy metals, but some others involve the ion exchange of the aluminosilicate structure to form photoactive particles or to link copper ions. In this chapter, we summarize some of the properties which make aluminosilicate inorganic polymer (geopolymers) ion exchangeable: the synthesized temperature, its effect over their porosity and their stoichiometric nature. Also, the effects of ion exchanging a geopolymer with an NH4+Cl, (NH4)2TiO2(C2O4)2 and (CH3)4N+Br are presented. The geopolymer was characterized by FT-IR, XRD, BET and MAS NMR, showing how a 100% of replacement was achieved for NH4+Cl. On the contrary, the efficiency was reduced in (NH4)2TiO2(C2O4)2 and (CH3)4N+Br, effect ascribed to the fact of the molecular size that did not allow the counterions to reach the aluminum atoms in the geopolymer. Finally, the procedure followed to ion exchange a metakaolinite-based geopolymer is described, and the potential applications related are presented.
Part of the book: New Trends in Ion Exchange Studies