The effect of ball milling grinding pathways on the bulk and reactivity properties of calcium phosphate cements



Calcium phosphate cements (CPCs) are significant alternatives to autologous bone grafting. CPCs can be composed of biphasic or multiphase calcium phosphate (CaP) compounds. A common way to process CPCs is by ball milling. Ball milling can be used for grinding or mechanosynthesis. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of well-defined ball milling grinding parameters, applied via different milling pathways, on the properties of CPCs. Starting CaP compounds used included α-tricalcium phosphate, dicalcium phosphate anhydrous and precipitated hydroxyapatite. Scanning electron microscopy showed changes in the powder morphology, which were related to the behavior of the starting CaP materials. Specific surface area (SSA) and particle size (PS) measurements exposed the effect of ball milling on the CaP compounds and CPC powders. X-ray diffraction revealed no effect of ball milling pathways or milling time on the composition of CPCs or the starting materials, but affected their crystallographic properties. No contamination of the milling media or transformation into an amorphous calcium phosphate compound was found. The milling pathways affected setting and cohesion. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) revealed differences on the CPC v4-PO43- bands according to the interaction, created between the CaP compounds by the milling pathways. FTIR confirmed that the milling pathways changed the crystallographic properties. This study demonstrates that the pathways used for milling grinding modify the PS, SSA, and crystallographic properties of the powders, without affecting their composition. These modifications affected the bulk and reactivity properties of the CPCs by creating different setting and cohesion behaviors. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part B: Appl Biomater, 2011.