04 October 2011
Natural materials are renowned for their unique combination of outstanding mechanical properties and exquisite microstructure. For example, bone, cork, and wood are porous biological materials with high specific stiffness (stiffness per unit weight) and specific strength. The outstanding mechanical properties of these materials are attributed to their anisotropic structures, which have optimized strength-to-density and stiffness-to-density ratios. Now, researchers from Berkeley Lab and the Imperial College London have created bioactive glass scaffolds that mirror nature’s efficient materials. The three-dimensional glass scaffold is as porous as trabecular bone, has a compressive strength comparable to that of cortical bone, and a strength-to-porosity ratio higher than any previously reported scaffolds.