The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of fiber orientation of a fiber-reinforced composite (FRC) made of poly-methyl-methacrylate (PMMA) and E-glass to the surface fabrication process by solvent dissolution. Intention of the dissolution process was to expose the fibers and create a macroporous surface onto the FRC to enhance bone bonding of the material. The effect of dissolution and fiber direction to the bone bonding capability of the FRC material was also tested. Three groups of FRC specimens (n = 18/group) were made of PMMA and E-glass fiber reinforcement: (a) group with continuous fibers parallel to the surface of the specimen, (b) continuous fibers oriented perpendicularly to the surface, (c) randomly oriented short (discontinuous) fibers. Fourth specimen group (n = 18) made of plain PMMA served as controls. The specimens were subjected to a solvent treatment by tetrahydrofuran (THF) of either 5, 15 or 30 min of time (n = 6/time point), and the advancement of the dissolution (front) was measured. The solvent treatment also exposed the fibers and created a surface roughness on to the specimens. The solvent treated specimens were embedded into plaster of Paris to simulate bone bonding by mechanical locking and a pull-out test was undertaken to determine the strength of the attachment. All the FRC specimens dissolved as function of time, as the control group showed no marked dissolution during the study period. The specimens with fibers along the direction of long axis of specimen began to dissolve significantly faster than specimens in other groups, but the test specimens with randomly oriented short fibers showed the greatest depth of dissolution after 30 min. The pull-out test showed that the PMMA specimens with fibers were retained better by the plaster of Paris than specimens without fibers. However, direction of the fibers considerably influenced the force of attachment. The fiber reinforcement increases significantly the dissolution speed, and the orientation of the glass fibers has great effect on the dissolving depth of the polymer matrix of the composite, and thus on the exposure of fibers. The glass fibers exposed by the solvent treatment enhanced effectively the attachment of the specimen to the bone modeling material.

Surface modification of fiber reinforced polymer composites and their attachment to bone simulating material
Hautamäki M, Puska M, Aho AJ, Kopperud HBM, Vallittu PK.
J Mater Sci Mater Med. 2013 May; 24(5): 1145-52. Doi: 10.1007/s10856-013-4890-9