Department of Composites and Carbon Materials
Institute of Rock Structure and Mechanics of the ASCR, v.v.i.

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Thematic Research focus

  • modern fibrous, particulate and hybrid composite materials on the basis of synthetic or natural materials
  • composite materials for medical use
  • heat resistant composites

  • Advanced composite materials for medical applications in the form of bone graft replacements, substitute/filling, or connective elements, are designed on the basis of biocompatible and biodegradable matrices and various kinds of reinforcing phases in the form of micro and nano fibers or particles. Individual components and composites are prepared by electrospinning, lyophilisation and further common curing and precipitation techniques. Longstanding experience with collagenous materials and calcium phosphates isolated from natural precursors are applied in their preparation. Physico-chemical characterization and quality of particular precursors are monitored by FTIR spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, chemical analyses, SEM, TEM and EDS. The ability of composites to create a strong connection with bone tissue is further optimized with the help of specially developed techniques, enabling creation of open, interconnected pores of suitable dimensions and density for bone cell ingrowth.

    Microstructures and nanostructures of composites and their precursors are observed by optical and electron microscopy and quantitatively evaluated by methods of image analysis. The influence of physical and chemical properties of composites on suitable structural and functional connections with bone tissue are evaluated. Topography of their surfaces (standard roughness parameters, dimensions, shape and density of pores) is evaluated by a non-contact 3D measuring device. The biological evaluation of composites is carried out by testing in simulated body fluid and by tests in vitro and in vivo, in cooperation with other departments. Macromechanical and micromechanical properties are studied using a universal testing device and by nanoindentation. Dynamic mechanical properties are studied using a resonant frequency method.

    Composites for medical instrumentation or targeting devices are also being studied for use in medicine. Comprehensive fundamental research is carried out on various kinds of modifications of composites, based on various fibers and polymer matrices, in an attempt to improve their mechanical, structural and chemical stabilities after repeated sterilization by widely-used techniques.

    The laboratory of composite materials is also engaged in the development of composites designed for exposure in applications at elevated temperatures. The research focuses on polysiloxane matrix precursors and its thermally induced conversion to silicon oxycarbide. This ceramic material has a high thermal resistance and low density and, therefore is being tested as a fi re resistant foam core of sandwich structures or matrices reinforced by ceramic or basalt fi bres. The laboratory is equipped with the Inspekt 100 universal testing machine with load preparations, extensometers and a Maytec furnace for measuring mechanical properties of materials at temperatures up to 1500 °C.