Bioactive glasses have been used for many years as bone substitutes in orthopedic and dental applications. The material is essentially used to fill bone defects and augment bone structures. These bioactive materials were shown to dissolve and stimulate more bone regeneration than other ceramics. Research recently focused on the development of porous bioactive glass monoblock that can provide structural support during bone ingrowth. However, little data is available in the literature on the effect of environmental conditions or sterilization treatments on the structure and properties of the materials.
This study presents the evolution of the structure and microstructure of bioactive foams (24.5Na2O-24.5CaO-6P2O5-45SiO2 wt%) exposed to different aging treatments. The foams were fabricated by mixing bioactive glass powder with a polymeric binder and a foaming agent. The resulting powder mixture was molded, foamed, debinded and sintered to obtain solid structures. After sintering, the material is composed of combeite and rhenanite crystals embedded in a residual glass matrix. The material is relatively stable with time. However, the material is sensitive to humidity and crystals may form on the surface when the foam is exposed to humid environments. The exposition to different sterilisation treatments (autoclave, ethylene oxide, hydrogen peroxide, gamma rays) has limited effect on the structure and properties of the foams.