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Content archived on 2024-05-29

New Bio-ceramisation processes applied to vegetable hierarchical structures

Final Report Summary - TEM-PLANT (New Bio-ceramisation processes applied to vegetable hierarchical structures)

The aim of TEM-PLANT was to develop and apply innovative processes to transform hierarchic structures existing in nature into devices with smart anisotropic performances.

Very good results were obtained during TEM-PLANT project. In particular:

1) a new concept of bone scaffolding was developed, thus obtaining prototypes of biomorphic scaffolds with a very strong potential to be applied in clinics in the next 5-10 years;

2) preliminary in vivo experiments proved that the development of ligament-like scaffolds based on the processing of natural polymers is a feasible way to obtain regenerative scaffolds for tendons and ligaments;

3) new knowledge was gained in the field of nanotechnology, thus pushing the current boundaries of the state-of-the-art in production of hierarchically structured materials. New knowledge was also gained, concerning chemico-physical phenomena at the basis of the transformation of natural raw materials and of the self-assembling and mineralisation processes;

4) the development of biomorphic devices potentially opens the door to new approaches for the achievement of smart materials and devices with exploitation perspectives wider than the biomedical field. An intriguing possibility is that of simultaneously achieving high values of strength and toughness, for which ordinarily there is a trade-off, in addition new materials with extreme values of physical properties such as thermal expansion or piezoelectricity can be obtained. Materials able to maintain adequate properties at extremely high temperatures and mechanical stress are highly sought after for use in several different applications, including, for example, catalytic silencers, space vehicles, turbine equipment for power generation plants and aircraft engines, like turbine blades, vanes, shrouds, and combustor components, and metal forming and glass blowing equipment. The exploitation of the innovative techniques proposed in TEM-PLANT, based on wood / plant ceramisation and self-assembling techniques will allow to overcome the problem of the structural complexity and to reduce the characteristic size of the smallest structural elements, in a wide range of technological applications;

5) the development of biomorphic materials and devices is based on the use of natural raw materials and natural waste to be transformed into complex structured smart devices: this concept meets very important requirements on recycling and environment safeguard.