Scientists create soft and tough fibres that closely resemble biological tissue

May 16th, 2009 - 1:48 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, May 16 (ANI): A group of Australian and Korean researchers have successfully used a robust network of DNA strands and carbon nanotubes to create supersoft sponge-like material whose mechanical properties closely resemble those of biological soft tissues.

Lead researchers Geoffrey M. Spinks and Seon Jeong Kim consider their team’s work to be a significant advance because it takes scientists a step closer to synthetically making implant materials that will closely emulate their natural counterparts-such as tendons, muscles, arteries, and skin or other organs.

Because many biological tissues are regularly subjected to intense mechanical loads, it is also important that the implant material have comparable elasticity in order to avoid inflammation. At the same time, the material must be very strong and resilient, or it may give out.

The researchers say that the materials they have made are as elastic as the softest natural tissues, while simultaneously derive great strength from the robust DNA links used for their creation.

They further reveal that an additional advantage is the electrical conductivity of the new material, which can thus also be used in electrodes for mechanical actuators, energy storage, and sensors.

A research paper describing this work has been published in the journal Angewandte Chemie. (ANI)

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