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Biomaterial Mimics Human Tissue

A new type of nanomaterial developed at the University of California-San Diego presents similar mechanical properties to human tissue. Specifically, it exhibits a negative Poisson’s ratio, meaning it doesn’t wrinkle when stretched; it's just the thing for a variety of human engineering uses, like heart walls, blood vessels, and skin.


(New biomaterial has properties like human tissue
Optical images of polyethylene glycol scaffolds
expanding in response to stretching)

Shaochen Chen, professor in the Department of NanoEngineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, hopes future tissue patches, which are used to repair damaged heart walls, blood vessels and skin, for example, will be more compatible with native human tissue than the patches available today. His findings were published in a recent issue of the journal Advanced Functional Materials.

Although Chen’s team is focused on creating biological materials, he said the manufacturing technology could be used to engineer many other kinds of materials including metal parts used in ships and spacecraft, for example.

Shape turned out to be essential to the new material’s mechanical property. While most engineered tissue is layered in scaffolds that take the shape of circular or square holes, Chen’s team created two new shapes called “reentrant honeycomb” and “cut missing rib.”

This sort of material could bring sfnal ideas like uniflesh from Frank Herbert's 1977 novel The Dosadi Experiment and read-out skin from John Varley's 1992 novel Steel Beach.

From UCSanDiego via MedGadget.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/10/2011)

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