Calcium silicate (CaSiO3, CS) ceramic composites reinforced with graphene nanoplatelets (GNP) were prepared using hot isostatic pressing (HIP) at 1150°C. Quantitative microstructural analysis suggests that GNP play a role in grain size and is responsible for the improved densification. Raman spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy showed that GNP survived the harsh processing conditions of the selected HIP processing parameters. The uniform distribution of 1 wt.% GNP in the CS matrix, high densification and fine CS grain size help to improve the fracture toughness by ∼130%, hardness by ∼30% and brittleness index by ∼40% as compared to the CS matrix without GNP. The toughening mechanisms, such as crack bridging, pull-out, branching and deflection induced by GNP are observed and discussed. The GNP/CS composites exhibit good apatite-forming ability in the simulated body fluid (SBF). Our results indicate that the addition of GNP decreased pH value in SBF. Effect of addition of GNP on early adhesion and proliferation of human osteoblast cells (hFOB) was measured in vitro. The GNP/CS composites showed good biocompatibility and promoted cell viability and cell proliferation. The results indicated that the cell viability and proliferation are affected by time and concentration of GNP in the CS matrix.
Calcium silicate (CaSiO3, CS) ceramics are promising bioactive materials for bone tissue engineering, particularly for bone repair. However, the low toughness of CS limits its application in load-bearing conditions. Recent findings indicating the promising biocompatibility of graphene imply that graphene can be used as an additive to improve the mechanical properties of composites. Here, we report a simple method for the synthesis of calcium silicate/reduced graphene oxide (CS/rGO) composites using a hydrothermal approach followed by hot isostatic pressing (HIP). Adding rGO to pure CS increased the hardness of the material by ∼40%, the elastic modulus by ∼52%, and the fracture toughness by ∼123%. Different toughening mechanisms were observed including crack bridging, crack branching, crack deflection, and rGO pull-out, thus increasing the resistance to crack propagation and leading to a considerable improvement in the fracture toughness of the composites. The formation of bone-like apatite on a range of CS/rGO composites with rGO weight percentages ranging from 0 to 1.5 has been investigated in simulated body fluid (SBF). The presence of a bone-like apatite layer on the composite surface after soaking in SBF was demonstrated by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM). The biocompatibility of the CS/rGO composites was characterized using methyl thiazole tetrazolium (MTT) assays in vitro. The cell adhesion results showed that human osteoblast cells (hFOB) can adhere to and develop on the CS/rGO composites. In addition, the proliferation rate and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity of cells on the CS/rGO composites were improved compared with the pure CS ceramics. These results suggest that calcium silicate/reduced graphene oxide composites are promising materials for biomedical applications.
In the present study, stable homogeneous graphene nanoplatelet (GNP) nanofluids were prepared without any surfactant by high-power ultrasonic (probe) dispersion of GNPs in distilled water. The concentrations of nanofluids were maintained at 0.025, 0.05, 0.075, and 0.1 wt.% for three different specific surface areas of 300, 500, and 750 m2/g. Transmission electron microscopy image shows that the suspensions are homogeneous and most of the materials have been well dispersed. The stability of nanofluid was investigated using a UV-visible spectrophotometer in a time span of 600 h, and zeta potential after dispersion had been investigated to elucidate its role on dispersion characteristics. The rheological properties of GNP nanofluids approach Newtonian and non-Newtonian behaviors where viscosity decreases linearly with the rise of temperature. The thermal conductivity results show that the dispersed nanoparticles can always enhance the thermal conductivity of the base fluid, and the highest enhancement was obtained to be 27.64% in the concentration of 0.1 wt.% of GNPs with a specific surface area of 750 m2/g. Electrical conductivity of the GNP nanofluids shows a significant enhancement by dispersion of GNPs in distilled water. This novel type of nanofluids shows outstanding potential for replacements as advanced heat transfer fluids in medium temperature applications including solar collectors and heat exchanger systems.