In this in vivo study, Sprague Dawley (SD) rats were used to investigate the bioactivity as well as the microstructural and mechanical properties of Ti-6Al-4V samples embedded with hydroxyapatite (HA) using two different coating methods-superplastic embedment (SPE) and superplastic deformation (SPD). The HA layer thickness for the SPE and SPD samples increased from 249.1 ± 0.6 nm to 874.8 ± 13.7 nm, and from 206.1 ± 5.8 nm to 1162.7 ± 7.9 nm respectively, after 12 weeks of implantation. The SPD sample exhibited much faster growth of newly formed HA compared to SPE. The growth of the newly formed HA was strongly dependent on the degree of HA crystallinity in the initial HA layer. After 12 weeks of implantation, the surface hardness value of the SPE and SPD samples decreased from 661 ± 0.4 HV to 586 ± 1.3 HV and from 585 ± 6.6 HV to 425 ± 86.9 HV respectively. The decrease in surface hardness values was due to the newly formed HA layer that was more porous than the initial HA layer. However, the values were still higher than the substrate surface hardness of 321 ± 28.8 HV. Wear test results suggest that the original HA layers for both samples were still strongly intact, and to a certain extent the newly grown HA layers also were strongly bound with the original HA layers. This study confirms the bioactivity and mechanical stability of the HA layer on both samples in vivo.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.