Bones break, new bone forms and bones heal. This dynamic living tissue is constantly remodeling through the process of osteogenesis. It is continuously responding to external forces, changing to resist stress or repair injury, and has been described as the “ultimate smart composite.” Made up of specialized cells and protein fibers, it is as strong as steel and as light as aluminum and its structural design is being used in furniture and cars of the future.
Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology for Ceramics in Faenza, Italy have found a process to transform rattan into synthetic bone material, matching human bone structure – more so than anything else available right now. By heating rattan wood at high pressures while adding calcium and phosphate, they can create a synthetic for bone that is load-bearing, durable, and structured so much like real bone that blood and tissue cells treat it as if it were a continuation of the actual bone.
The material has been tested successfully in sheep, and is so thoroughly accepted by the body that it became difficult to see the fuse where the synthetic bone ends and the real bone begins.
Unlike ceramic or metal materials currently used for bone replacements, this material would never need to be replaced. However, it’ll be another 5 years before the technology is perfected enough for those of us who may some day require a hip or knee replacement.