A novel-processing route for preparing whisker-shaped hydroxyapatite (HAp)/beta-tricalcium phosphate (beta-TCP) composites has been developed and the resulting materials characterized. Relatively well-developed whisker-like HAp/beta-TCP crystals can be prepared successfully by the hydrolysis of solid-state reacted alpha/beta-TCP at 70-90 degrees C for 6-10 h using a microwave-heating source. The growth to whisker-shaped crystals occurred by a dissolution-precipitation reaction sometimes involving twinning in the product. It was possible to control the morphology of the reaction products by varying the hydrolysis temperature rather than time, which had a lesser effect. The reaction product obtained at 90 degrees C for 10 h resulted in the composite consisting of 58.6 HAp and 42.4 vol.% beta-TCP, with a whisker-like morphology having an aspect ratio >4 (0.3-0.8 mu m in diameter) and a Ca/P molar ratio of 1.59. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.