Carbonate apatite (CO3Ap) foam has gained much attention in recent years because of its ability to rapidly replace bone. However, its mechanical strength is extremely low for clinical use. In this study, to understand the potential of gelatin-reinforced CO3Ap foam for bone replacement, CO3Ap foam was reinforced with gelatin and the resulting physical characteristics were evaluated. The mechanical strength increased significantly with the gelatin reinforcement. The compressive strength of gelatin-free CO3Ap foam was 74 kPa whereas that of the gelatin-reinforced CO3Ap foam, fabricated using 30 mass % gelatin solution, was approximately 3 MPa. Heat treatment for crosslinking gelatin had little effect on the mechanical strength of the foam. The gelatin-reinforced foam did not maintain its shape when immersed in a saline solution as this promoted swelling of the gelatin however, in the same conditions, the heat-treated gelatin-reinforced foam proved to be stable. It is concluded, therefore, that heat treatment is the key to the fabrication of stable gelatin-reinforced CO3Ap foam.
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