Fabrication of the PEKK-reinforced nano-HA composites inspired by the cortical bone

Published 23 April, 2024

Nano hydroxyapatite (nHA), the primary inorganic component of bone widely utilized in bone tissue engineering, suffers from poor mechanical properties when used alone. Conversely, polyetherketoneketone (PEKK), a high-performance polymer approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and used in dentistry and biomaterial science, struggles with bioinertia, affecting its osteogenesis applications. 

In a study published in the KeAi journal Supramolecular Materials, researchers from Sichuan University, China, introduced pDA-nHA/PEKK composites that combine high strength and bioactivity. 

“The optimal combination of nHA and PEKK can achieve higher mechanical property and bioactivity,” shares lead author Zhongyi Wang. “Nevertheless, conventional melt blending techniques often result in weakened strength due to nanoparticle agglomeration and the lack of chemical bonds between the inorganic and organic constituents."

To that end, the team drew inspiration from the structure of cortical bone. By employing freeze-casting technology, the researchers mimicked the bone's hierarchical structure, which is known for its exceptional stiffness and toughness. This technique allowed them to produce complex hierarchical materials. The novel approach, characterized by the in-situ polymerization of PEKK, resulted in the development of pDA-nHA scaffolds with enhanced osteo-inductive abilities and supplemented mechanical strength through PEKK.

Corresponding Haiyang Yu highlighted this development as an advancement in supramolecular materials, surpassing the strength capabilities of current methods. Yu hopes their approach to hierarchical architecture and in-situ polymerization will inspire further scientific discoveries.


Contact author details: 

Haiyang Yu, State Key Laboratory of Oral Diseases, National Clinical Research Center for Oral Diseases, West China Hospital of Stomatology, Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan 610041, China


Qiang Wei, College of Polymer Science and Engineering State Key Laboratory of Polymer Materials and Engineering Sichuan University Chengdu, Sichuan 610065, China



This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 82071145) and the Research Fund of Interdisciplinary Innovation Project from West China Hospital of Stomatology, Sichuan University (RD-03-202009).

Conflict of interest:

The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.

See the article:

Zhongyi Wang, et al., Fabrication of the polyetherketoneketone-reinforced nano-hydroxyapatite composites as inspired by the cortical bone, Supramolecular Materials, Volume 3, 2024, Epub ahead of print, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.supmat.2023.100062.

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