Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Biomedical Engineering

Major Professor

Wesley Johnson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

William Lee, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John Wolan, Ph.D.


bone replacement, porosity, carbon fiber reinforced epoxy, glass fiber reinforced epoxy, zirconia toughened alumina, composite


Metal implants are a type of hard tissue replacement currently used. Metals used for implants include: stainless steel, titanium, chrome, and cobalt alloys. Such implants often fail at the interface with bone. Metal implants fail when the surface of the implant is coated with an osteoconductive material. An osteoconductive material provides scaffolding for cellular migration, cellular attachment, and cellular distribution. A reason for metal implant failure could be the vastly different material properties than bone. Motivation for the research was to find a suitable bone substitute other than metal. Materials considered were: zirconia toughened alumina, carbon fiber reinforced epoxy, and glass fiber reinforced epoxy. Those materials have been used in previous biological applications and can be cast into complex configurations.

Objectives of the study were to compare material properties of the composites to bone. A method to create porosity was then tested in the material that was similar to bone in critical material property.

Some of the materials were statistically similar to bone in yield strength. Method to create interconnected porosity in those materials resulted in 49% void space.