Composite bone cements were formulated with bioactive glass (MgO--SiO(2)--3CaO. P(2)O(5)) as the filler and hydrophilic matrix. The matrix was composed of a starch/cellulose acetate blend (SCA) as the solid component and a mixture of methylmethacrylate/acrylic acid (MMA/AA) as the liquid component. The curing parameters, mechanical properties, and bioactive behavior of these composite cements were determined. The addition of up to 30 wt % of glass improved both compressive modulus and yield strength and kept the maximum curing temperature at the same value presented by a typical acrylic-based commercial formulation. The lack of a strongly bonded interface (because no coupling agent was used) had important effects on the swelling and mechanical properties of the novel bone cements. However, bone cements containing AA did not show a bioactive behavior, because of the deleterious effect of this monomer on the calcium phosphate precipitation on the polymeric surfaces. Formulations without AA were prepared with MMA or 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA) as the liquid component. Only these formulations could form an apatite-like layer on their surface. These systems, therefore, are very promising: They are bioactive, hydrophilic, partially degradable, and present interesting mechanical properties. This combination of properties could facilitate the release of bioactive agents from the cement, allow bone ingrowth in the cement, and induce a press-fitting effect, improving the interfaces with both the prosthesis and the bone.
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