Innovation and Partnerships Office

Strong, Long-Range, Aligned Lamellar Structures for Biomedical (Synthetic Bone) and Energy Applications 2015-018

APPLICATIONS:

  • Synthetic bone scaffolding
  • Water purification filters
  • Fuel cell electrodes
  • Tissue engineering

ADVANTAGES:

  • Strong, tough, and lightweight
  • Anisotropic properties that mimic natural materials
  • Appropriate for many composite materials

ABSTRACT:

Researchers working in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division have developed bi-directional freeze casting to mimic nacre’s structural properties. The technology produces ceramic composites with long-range lamellar orientation, enabling high strength and toughness. The composites are ideal for use in biomedical and energy applications.

Unlike traditional freeze casting, which uses a single temperature gradient to freeze water into un-oriented lamellar sheets, the technology creates a second temperature gradient to align the freeze fronts and produce lamellar sheets with long-range orientation. Other current technologies including layer-by-layer assembly, vacuum assisted filtration, and slip casting are limited to thin films, which are not suitable for structural materials.

DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Proven principle. A synthetic bone composed of hydroxyapatite (HA) and polymethylmethacrylyte (PMMA) has been fabricated and tested.

STATUS: Patent pending. Available for licensing or collaborative research.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Bai, H., Chen, Y., Delattre, B., Tomsia, A., Ritchie, R. “Bioinspired large-scale aligned porous materials assembled with dual temperature gradients,” Science Advances, December 11, 2015.

Bai, H., Walsh, F., Gludovatz, B., Delattre, B., Huang, C., Chen, Y., Tomsia, A., Ritchie, R. “Bioinspired hydroxyapatite / poly (methyl methacrylate) composite with a nacre-mimetic architecture by a bidirectional freezing method,” Advanced Materials, 2016, 28, 50-56.

SEE OTHER BERKELEY LAB TECHNOLOGIES IN THIS FIELD:

FlexBone: Osteo-mimetic Composites IB-2104