The suitability of Glass Polyalkenoate Cements (GPCs) for orthopaedic applications is retarded by the presence in the glass phase of aluminum, a neurotoxin. Unfortunately, the aluminum ion plays an integral role in the setting process of GPCs and its absence is likely to hinder cement formation. However, the authors have previously shown that aluminum-free GPCs may be formulated based on calcium zinc silicate glasses and these novel materials exhibit significant potential as hard tissue biomaterials. However, there is no data available on the structure of these glasses. 29Si MAS-NMR, differential thermal analysis (DTA), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and network crosslink density (CLD) calculations were used to characterize the structure of five calcium zinc silicate glasses and relate glass structure to reactivity. The results indicate that glasses capable of forming Zn-GPCs are predominantly Q2/Q3 in structure with corresponding network crosslink densities greater than 2. The correlation of CLD and MAS-NMR results indicate the primary role of zinc in these simple glass networks is as a network modifier and not an intermediate oxide; this fact will allow for more refined glass compositions, with less reactive structures, to be formulated in the future. © Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2006.


Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

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01 May 2006

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