Synthesis of ternary bioactive glass derived aerogel and xerogel: study of their structure and bioactivity

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In this work ternary bioactive glasses with the molar composition 63 % SiO2, 28 % CaO, and 9 % P2O5 have been prepared via sol-gel processing route leading to xerogel or aerogel glasses, depending on the drying conditions. Two types of drying methods were used: atmospheric pressure drying (evaporative), to produce xerogels, and supercritical fluids drying, to obtain aerogels. Both dried gels were subjected to heat-treatment at three different temperatures: 400, 600 and 800 ºC in order to the removal of synthesis byproducts and structural modifications. The resulting materials were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier transforms infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA) and differential thermal analysis (DTA), and by in vitro bioactivity tests in simulated body fluid. The influence of the drying and the sintering temperature of their structure, morphology, and bioactivity of the final products were evaluated. The results show a good bioactivity of xerogel and aerogel bioactive glass powders with the formation of an apatite layer after one day of immersion in SBF solution for aerogel bioactive glass powders and a particle size less than 10 nm. An apatite layer formed after 3 days in the case of xerogel bioactive glass powders and a particle size around 100 nm.

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