The performance of biomedical implants relies on the ability to assess and refine the microstructure of biomaterials. Instrumented nanoindentation was applied to determine the mechanical properties of plasma sprayed hydroxyapatite-coated implants from different commercial vendors. All biomedical devices contained both amorphous and crystalline phases. Nanoindentation of the amorphous phase revealed a hardness of 1.5 ± 0.3 GPa and an elastic modulus of 48 ± 6 GPa. The crystalline phase revealed a range in hardness of 3.0–7.7 GPa. The large range is attributed to the presence of porosity, surrounding amorphous areas, and hydroxyapatite (unmolten particle cores and recrystallized hydroxyapatite). A selection of the powder type (spray-dried or sintered) leads to different mechanical properties within the coating. A spray-dried powder provides a lower hardness and elastic modulus when unmolten particle cores are included in the coating. Meanwhile recrystallized areas are intermediate in hardness. The combination of a polished cross-section and nanoindentation offers the ability to determine a range of quality control tests including hardness, elastic modulus, bond strength, fracture toughness, substrate and coating roughness, crystallinity, and coating thickness. Property maps determined from nanoindentation will provide a graphical representation of\ the mechanical property distribution within the coating and provide a basis for coating property refinements. The assessment of commercial coatings is used a basis for discussion of future developments for hydroxyapatite coatings
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