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Case Study

Novel Processing of Bioactive Inorganic Materials

Lucideon expertise allows new elements to be included in products.

The challenge

The client was interested in novel routes for the formation of a crystalline phase with potential use in various bone-replacement scenarios. Although the target phase could be generated via conventional high temperature processing, the client was unhappy with the yield and product purity. A process was required that was high yielding, safer to conduct and was more sustainable.

What we delivered

A review of the literature (undertaken using Lucideon's World Ceramics Abstracts database) revealed aqueous sol-gel routes with potential. Using Lucideon’s expertise these procedures were adapted to allow new elements to be included in the product, meeting the client's needs.

Lucideon undertook small-scale preparations and employed in-house analysis to show the required stoichiometry. Further investigation was conducted to determine the optimal temperature vs time profile for developing the target crystalline phase at high % yield. Lucideon demonstrated the robustness of the preparation and involved their in-house chemical engineering team to work with the client on scaling up the new process.

Value to the client

Lucideon delivered a process that produced products of a higher quality, and in greater yields, with lower energy requirements and improved safety.

The client gained confidence in a process that was both reproducible and scalable. They appreciated that they could rely on Lucideon supporting them - from scaling up the process to market launch.

An unexpected spin-off project (discovered during discussions at a wash-up meeting) was that the dried, pre-sintered amorphous material might also have bioactive properties. Given the fact low temperature processing is used up to this process point, the potential for in-situ loading of active components (drugs, antibacterials, growth factors etc.) exists.