Porous functional graded ceramics (porous FGCs) offer immense potential to overcome the low mechanical strengths of homogeneously porous bioceramics used as bone grafts. The tailored manipulation of the graded pore structure including the interfaces in these materials is of particular interest to locally control the microstructural and mechanical properties, as well as the biological response of the potential implant. In this work, porous FGCs with integrated interface textures were fabricated by a novel two-step transfer micro-molding technique using alumina and hydroxyapatite feedstocks with varied amounts of spherical pore formers (0–40 Vol%) to generate well-defined porosities. Defect-free interfaces could be realized for various porosity pairings, leading to porous FGCs with continuous and discontinuous transition of porosity. The microstructure of three different periodic interface patterns (planar, 2D-linear waves and 3D-Gaussian hills) was investigated by SEM and µCT and showed a shape accurate replication of the CAD-designed model in the ceramic sample. The Young’s modulus and flexural strength of bi-layered bending bars with 0 and 30 Vol% of pore formers were determined and compared to homogeneous porous alumina and hydroxyapaite containing 0–40 Vol% of pore formers. A significant reduction of the Young’s modulus was observed for the porous FGCs, attributed to damping effects at the interface. Flexural 4-point-testing revealed that the failure did not occur at the interface, but rather in the porous 30 Vol% layer, proving that the interface does not represent a source of weakness in the microstructure.
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