In this study, we focused on fabrication and characterization of three-dimensional carbon fiber-reinforced polyetheretherketone (C3-D/PEEK) composites for orthopedic applications. We found that pre-heating of 3-D fabrics before hot-pressing could eliminate pores in the composites prepared by 3-D co-braiding and hot-pressing techniques. The manufacturing process and the processing variables were studied and optimum parameters were obtained. Moreover, the carbon fibers were surface treated by the anodic oxidization and its effect on mechanical properties of the composites was determined. Preliminary cell studies with mouse osteoblast cells were also performed to examine the cytocompatibility of the composites. Feasibility of the C3-D/PEEK composites as load-bearing bone fixation materials was evaluated. Results suggest that the C3-D/PEEK composites show good promising as load-bearing bone fixations. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
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