European researchers advance bone implants technology

European researchers are relentless in their pursuit to develop technologies across the board. Case in point is medical technology and bone implants. Enter a team of researchers from the Germany-based Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Applied Materials Research who have developed a simulation programme calculating the internal structure and density distribution of bone material.

The production of bone implants with a structure similar to natural bone is being produced easily. The initial step in this process is the calculation of the bone's internal structure and porosity, followed by the 'baking' of the implant from metal powder. The second step is conducted in a prototyping machine.

Scientists involved in the production of bone implants look to nature for resources, taking a close look at the structure of bone and how it is constructed. While bones are light, they have the capacity to tolerate strong loads. Also, the interior of bone is sponge-like but firm and compact in some areas.

With this in mind, the Fraunhofer team rose to the challenge of the lightweight construction industry which asked 'How can this be replicated?' The researchers successfully developed a simulation programme that shows how bone structure must be constructed in order to meet the specified requirements.

This latest development gives engineers the means to produce complex components with the help of rapid prototyping technology. The process focuses on coating a surface with wafer-thin layers of special metal powder. A laser beam sinters (heats without melting) ores or powdery metals into a coherent mass in the areas that must be firm.

"It's like baking a cake," explains Andreas Burblies, a representative for the Fraunhofer Numerical Simulation of Products, Processes Alliance. "The end product is an open-pored element. Any remaining loose powder is then removed. Each point possesses exactly the right density and thus also a certain stability," he adds.

Engineers can now make lightweight components that are tailor-made for each application. The upshot is that these components will be able to withstand heavy loads. The research team has also given the engineers the means to change the internal structure of the parts once they are produced through precision drilling.

"We can manufacture and adapt the parts exactly as required," Mr Burblies says. Experts have said that the production of individual implants with an internal structure that is similar to a patient's bone is not difficult. Biomaterials-based metal powders, like steel alloys and titanium, give engineers an edge because reconstruction of other bone elements is made easy. This innovative technique will draw in several industries, including bone implants production, and aircraft and automobile manufacturers.

For more information, please visit:
http://www.ifam.fraunhofer.de

Copyright ©European Communities, 2008
Neither the Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, nor any person acting on its behalf, is responsible for the use, which might be made of the attached information. The attached information is drawn from the Community R&D Information Service (CORDIS). The CORDIS services are carried on the CORDIS Host in Luxembourg - http://cordis.europa.eu. Access to CORDIS is currently available free-of-charge.

Most Popular Now

New target for COVID-19 vaccines identified

Next generation vaccines for COVID-19 should aim to induce an immune response against 'replication proteins', essential for the very earliest stages of the viral cycle, c...

Safety concerns raised for neuroblastoma candidate…

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists looking for drugs to improve survival of children with high-risk neuroblastoma found a promising candidate in CX-5461. Th...

Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine named one o…

The editors of Time announced that the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine has been selected as one of Time's Best Inventions of 2021. The vaccine, for which Johnson & ...

Pfizer's novel COVID-19 oral antiviral treatment c…

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) today announced its investigational novel COVID-19 oral antiviral candidate,PAXLOVID™, significantly reduced hospitalization and death, based on a...

Researchers reveal a strategy for next-generation …

A study led by the Garvan Institute of Medical Research has revealed a guide to developing COVID-19 vaccines that both prevent the coronavirus from infecting human cells ...

A commonly found parasite could treat certain type…

Scientists have discovered that a deadly parasite, known to cause ill health in pregnant women and immunocompromised patients, could potentially be used to treat various ...

'Dancing molecules' successfully repair severe spi…

Northwestern University researchers have developed a new injectable therapy that harnesses “dancing molecules” to reverse paralysis and repair tissue after severe spinal ...

A target for potential cancer drugs may, in fact, …

In recent years, much scientific effort and funding has focused on developing drugs that target an enzyme with the unwieldy name of Src homology 2-containing protein tyro...

Abbott launches new initiative to drive diversity …

Abbott (NYSE: ABT) today announced the launch of a new initiative designed to help create a more inclusive clinical trial ecosystem through new approaches to training, ed...

Needle-free COVID-19 vaccine shows promise

A needle-free COVID-19 vaccination could be possible, with University of Queensland scientists successfully protecting mice from the virus by administering a US-developed...

Cleveland Clinic launches first-of-its kind preven…

Cleveland Clinic researchers have opened a novel study for a vaccine aimed at eventually preventing triple-negative breast cancer, the most aggressive and lethal form of ...

Novartis to sell its Roche stake in a bilateral tr…

Novartis has agreed to sell 53.3 million (approximately 33%) Roche bearer shares in a bilateral transaction to Roche for a total consideration of USD 20.7 billion. Vas...