Improved phosphate-based glass fiber performance achieved through acid etch/polydopamine treatment

Parsons, Andrew J. and Felfel, Reda M. and Wadge, Matthew D. and Grant, David M. (2020) Improved phosphate-based glass fiber performance achieved through acid etch/polydopamine treatment. International Journal of Applied Glass Science, 11 (1). pp. 35-45. ISSN 2041-1294 (

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Phosphate-based glass fibers (PGF) are of interest as reinforcements for degradable implants, but have seen limited application due to their rapid loss of strength when subjected to aqueous conditions. Previous studies have utilized heat treatments to improve longer term strength retention at a significant cost to initial strength. In this study, acid etching is used to recover the initial fiber strength after heat treatment and a subsequent coating of polydopamine is applied to provide longer term retention of this recovered strength. After an initial loss of strength after heat treatment (1135 -> 509 MPa), an optimized combination of acid treatment and polydopamine coating was able to recover to approximately 85% of the initial strength (969 MPa). The result was significant in comparison to acid treatment (647 MPa) or coating (688 MPa) alone. The combined acid/coating treatment was demonstrated to maintain fiber properties for at least 14 days, although the amount of polydopamine coating was observed to decrease over this period. The approach reported here is of importance as it offers the required step change in degradation performance that is needed for PGF-reinforced degradable composites.