The proposed research is directed at developing a composite ceramic spacer for insertion between and fusion of adjacent vertebrae of the spine. This demands the production of a complex shape comprising a composite of bioactive and bioinert materials to produce a composite with functionally gradient properties. the spacer will be designed to lock into the invertebral disc space and stimulate bone growth through the device. Such a composite shall comprise a functionally gradient device consisting of zirconia or alumina containing and encapsulated by hydrosyapatie (HAP)/calcium phospathe/polymer. The major research tasks are :
i) Specification of the product design
ii) Characterisation and selection of materials
iii) Development of injection moulding to produce functionally graded composite.
iv) Development of a suitable bioactive core and layer.
v) Investigation and production of demonstrator prototype components including small batch quantities.
vi) Type testing components and specification requirements for composite spinal spacers.
It is anticipated that subsequent exploitation will lead to the development of other orthopaedic prostheses and products to allow localised drug release.
Successful use of injection moulding will allow production of near net shape components and should yield saving material wastage of approximately 30% with a corresponding reduction of further processing costs.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
ST4 7AF Stoke-on-trent
KT8 2QZ West Molesey
W12 0NN London