Synthetic biomaterials mimicking bone morphology have expanded at a tremendous rate. Among all, one stands out: bioactive glass. Bioactive glasses opened the door to a new genre of research into materials able to promote the regeneration of functioning bone tissue. However, despite their ability to promote cell attachment, proliferation and differentiation, these materials are mainly used as granules. However to promote loaded and sustained bone repair, a 3D structure, with open and highly interconnected pores, is desirable. 3D scaffolds are generally produced into green bodies via various techniques. The particles are then bound together via sintering. However, the highly disrupted silica network of the typical bioactive glasses composition leads to crystallization. Therefore, sintering of the most commonly used bioactive glass compositions (i.e. 45S5 and S53P4) leads to partly to fully crystallize bodies. The impact of crystallization on bioactivity still leads to large debate among the scientific community. Does crystallization reduce or suppress the materials bioactivity? Within this chapter, the processing routes for scaffold manufacture are presented, as well as an introduction to the thermal processing of glasses to form glass and glass-ceramics and the consequent effect on bioactivity is discussed.
Part of the book: Materials, Technologies and Clinical Applications