- Synthetic bone scaffolding
- Water purification filters
- Fuel cell electrodes
- Tissue engineering
- Strong, tough, and lightweight
- Anisotropic properties that mimic natural materials
- Appropriate for many composite materials
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., 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.
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