Biodegradable calcium phosphate composites consisting of tricalcium phosphate (α-TCP) and hydroxyapatite (HA) were prepared using a two-step sintering method. The ratio of α-TCP/HA was controlled by modulating the sintering temperature. The initial calcination process at 800 °C causes HA dehydroxylation and induces the early transformation of HA into α-TCP in subsequent sintering processes. At the optimum sintering temperature of 1300 °C, the material is comprised of a moderate ratio of α-TCP to HA (3:7) and possesses a hardness of 5.0 GPa. The high temperature phase transformation from HA to α-TCP accompanied by bonded water loss, which results in the formation of nano-pores within the α-TCP matrix, hardly deteriorated the mechanical strength of the composite. This pore-containing structure also provided a convincing evidence for the origin of the high degradability of α-TCP in a biological environment.
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