Preparation and characterization of homogeneous chitosan–polylactic acid/hydroxyapatite nanocomposite for bone tissue engineering and evaluation of its mechanical properties
Homogeneous nanocomposites composed of hydroxyapatite and chitosan in the presence of polylactic acid were synthesized by a novel in situ precipitation method. The morphological and compositional properties of composites were investigated. Hydroxyapatite nanoparticles in a special rod-like shape with a diameter of about 50 nm and a length of about 300 nm were distributed homogeneously within the chitosan–polylactic acid matrix. The interaction between the organic matrix and the inorganic crystallite and the formation mechanism of the rod-like nanoparticles were also studied. The results suggested that the formation of the special rod-like nanoparticles could be controlled by a multiple-order template effect. High-resolution images showed that the rod-like inorganic particles were composed of randomly orientated subparticles about 10 nm in diameter. The mechanical properties of the composites were evaluated by measuring their compressive strength and elastic modulus. The data indicated that the addition of polylactic acid can make homogeneous composites scaffold resist significantly higher stress. The elastic modulus of the composites was also improved by the addition of polylactic acid, which can make them more beneficial for surgical applications.