New bone implants 'could be made using graphene'

5 September 2016

US researchers have discovered that the revolutionary ultrathin material known as graphene could be used as a means of developing enhanced bone implants.

The Rice University research has found that using spark plasma sintering to weld together flakes of graphene oxide allows for the creation of porous solids that offer similar mechanical properties and biocompatibility to titanium, a material often used in bone replacement.

Graphene is already known to be a highly versatile substance, offering incredible mechanical strength despite its single-atom thickness, as well as high levels of conductivity and great flexibility.

It is nearly 50 per cent porous, with half the density of graphite and a quarter of titanium, but with enough compressive strength to make it usable for bone implant applications.

The researchers believe these qualities would make it possible to create highly complex shapes out of graphene using graphite moulds more easily than can be done with speciality metals.

Study leader Pulickel Ajayan, a materials scientist at Rice University, said: "This example demonstrates the possible use of unconventional materials in conventional technologies."

Posted by Jeanette Royston


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