The purpose of this study was to evaluate quantitatively the effects of fluoride on the solubility and crystallinity of carbonated apatites (CAPs) after its incorporation into the crystal lattice using the metastable equilibrium solubility (MES) distribution method. Fluoride-incorporated CAPs (F-CAPs) of two different carbonate levels (3 and 5%) and fluoride contents from 0 to 20,000 μg/g were synthesized. X-ray diffraction experiments and Rietveld analysis were conducted to obtain crystallite microstrain and unit cell parameters. Acetate buffer MES solution media were prepared at two solution fluoride concentrations (0.2 and 2.0 mg/l) and at two pHs (5.0 and 5.7). The unit cell a-axis values of the F-CAPs were found to decrease as the fluoride content increased, consistent with the fluoride being incorporated into the crystal lattice. The fluoride concentrations in the MES solution media were high enough to provide a ‘swamping’ effect such that the fluoride released from the F-CAPs during dissolution was minimal in changing the solution fluoride concentration. Employing the MES distribution superposition method, it was shown that the surface complex possessing the fluorapatite (FAP) stoichiometry [Ca10(PO4)6F2] accounted for the MES distribution behavior of all experiments. In addition, the mean pIFAP [the value of –log(aCa10aPO46aF2) calculated from the ionic activity product based on FAP stoichiometry of the MES dissolution media in which 50% of the F-CAPs had dissolved] correlated well with the crystallite microstrain parameters of the F-CAPs. The incorporated fluoride in the F-CAPs showed only modest effects on F-CAP crystallinity and solubility.
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