22 August 2011

Wooden Bones

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Scientists are looking for new ways to transform complex and organized structures already existing in nature to rebuild bones out of wood

Rebuilding bones out of wood, or cartilage out of algae and chitosan is the most spectacular aspect of this particular bioinspiration field. The transformation from wood into a ceramic that is identical to the mineral part of bone (hydroxyapatite, which makes up 80% of it) is completely “natural” from top to bottom, in the sense there are no synthetic or hazardous by-products at any stage. It is also a completely nano affair, since it takes place at molecular level.

Bone is a piece of hard, solid and living element, which also has some holes inside. This is now being replaced by a hard, solid and living element that also has some holes in the inside. If you look even closer, you will find astonishing similarities in the microstructure of the bone and the wood. Scientists working at the EU-funded TEM-PLANT project are looking for new ways to rebuild bones out of wood.

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