Friday, January 08, 2010

Rattan makes good bones

Wicker bones, what next? Actually, using a natural substance probably works better than, say plastic. From the BBC:

A novel - and natural - way of creating new bones for humans could be just a few years away.

Scientists in Italy have developed a way of turning rattan wood into bone that is almost identical to the human tissue.

At the Istec laboratory of bioceramics in Faenza near Bologna, a herd of sheep have already been implanted with the bones.

The process starts by cutting the long tubular rattan wood up into manageable pieces.

It is then snipped into even smaller chunks, ready for the complex chemical process to begin.

The pieces are put in a furnace and heated.

In simple terms, carbon and calcium are added.

The wood is then further heated under intense pressure in another oven-like machine and a phosphate solution is introduced.

'Very promising'

After around 10 days, the rattan wood has been transformed into the bone-like material.

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