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The Lead

Making clothes out of gelatin could reduce agricultural waste

June 26, 2015 10:30 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

From gummy bears to silky mousses, gelatin is essential for making some of our favorite sweets. Now scientists are exploring another use for the common food ingredient: spinning it into yarn so it can be made into clothing. And because gelatin comes from livestock by-products, the new technique would provide an additional use for agricultural leftovers. The report appears in Biomacromolecules.

Sprayable foam slows bleeding

June 25, 2015 1:00 pm | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Traumatic injuries, whether from serious car accidents, street violence or military combat, can...

Mantis shrimp inspires new body armor

June 18, 2015 8:15 am | by Sean Nealon, Univ. of California, Riverside | Videos | Comments

The mantis shrimp is able to repeatedly pummel the shells of prey using a hammer-like appendage...

Inkjet inks made of silk could yield smart bandages

June 17, 2015 9:24 am | by Kim Thurler, Tufts Univ. | News | Comments

Silk inks containing enzymes, antibiotics, antibodies, nanoparticles and growth factors could...

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Cellulose from wood can be printed in 3-D

June 17, 2015 7:31 am | by Chalmers Univ. of Technology | News | Comments

A group of researchers at Chalmers Univ. of Technology have managed to print and dry 3-D objects made entirely by cellulose, for the first time, with the help of a 3-D bioprinter. They also added carbon nanotubes to create electrically conductive material.

Squid inspires camouflaging smart materials

June 15, 2015 10:31 am | by Univ. of Bristol | News | Comments

Researchers from the Univ. of Bristol have shown it is possible to create artificial skin that can be transformed at the flick of a switch to mimic one of nature's masters of camouflage, the squid. The research team has designed a smart materials system, inspired by biological chromatophores, which creates patterns that change and morph over time and mimic biological patterning.

Toward “green” paper-thin, flexible electronics

June 10, 2015 9:15 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

The rapid evolution of gadgets has brought us an impressive array of “smart” products from phones to tablets, and now watches and glasses. But they still haven’t broken free from their rigid form. Now scientists are reporting a new step toward bendable electronics. They have developed the first light-emitting, transparent and flexible paper out of environmentally friendly materials via a simple, suction-filtration method.

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Natural rubber from dandelions

June 8, 2015 10:59 am | by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft | News | Comments

Dandelions are modest plants that are an excellent alternative source for a raw material of high demand: natural rubber, the fundamental ingredient in rubber products. Fraunhofer researchers have established the basis for the large-scale production of high quality rubber with Russian dandelion.

New material accelerates healing

June 2, 2015 8:50 am | by Matthew Chin, Univ. of California, Los Angeles | Videos | Comments

Researchers from the Univ. of California, Los Angeles have developed an injectable hydrogel that helps skin wounds heal more quickly. The material creates an instant scaffold that allows new tissue to latch on and grow within the cavities formed between linked spheres of gel.

Tough biogel structures produced by 3D printing

June 2, 2015 7:42 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Researchers have developed a new way of making tough, but soft and wet, biocompatible materials, called “hydrogels,” into complex and intricately patterned shapes. The process might lead to injectable materials for delivering drugs or cells into the body; scaffolds for regenerating load-bearing tissues; or tough but flexible actuators for future robots, the researchers say.

Spinning a new version of silk

May 28, 2015 7:22 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

After years of research decoding the complex structure and production of spider silk, researchers have now succeeded in producing samples of this exceptionally strong and resilient material in the laboratory. The new development could lead to a variety of biomedical materials made from synthesized silk with properties specifically tuned for their intended uses.

Seashell strength inspires stress tests

May 20, 2015 7:43 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | News | Comments

Mollusks got it right. They have soft innards, but their complex exteriors are engineered to protect them in harsh conditions. Engineers at the Indian Institute of Science and Rice Univ. are beginning to understand why. By modeling the average mollusk’s mobile habitat, they are learning how shells stand up to extraordinary pressures at the bottom of the sea.

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Practical gel that simply “clicks” for biomedical applications

May 1, 2015 10:17 am | by Harvard Univ. | News | Comments

If you opt to wear soft contact lenses, chances are you are using hydrogels on a daily basis. Made up of polymer chains that are able to absorb water, hydrogels used in contacts are flexible and allow oxygen to pass through the lenses, keeping eyes healthy. Hydrogels can be up to 99% water and as a result are similar in composition to human tissues.

TU Wien and MedUni Vienna have developed artificial blood vessels, which are broken down by the body and replaced with its own tissue.

New material for creating artificial blood vessels

April 28, 2015 11:04 am | by Vienna Medical University | News | Comments

Blocked blood vessels can quickly become dangerous. It is often necessary to replace a blood vessel—either by another vessel taken from the body or even by artificial vascular prostheses. Tesearchers have developed artificial blood vessels made from a special elastomer material, which has excellent mechanical properties. Over time, these artificial blood vessels are replaced by endogenous material.

Soy: It’s good for eating, baking and cleaning up crude oil spills

April 23, 2015 9:11 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

If you've studied ingredient labels on food packaging, you've probably noticed that soy lecithin is in a lot of products, ranging from buttery spreads to chocolate cake. Scientists have now found a potential new role for this all-purpose substance: dispersing crude oil spills. Their study, which could lead to a less toxic way to clean up these environmental messes, appears in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering.

Researchers create bio-inspired flame retardants

April 15, 2015 9:53 am | by NIST | News | Comments

After devising several new and promising "green" flame retardants for furniture padding, NIST researchers took a trip to the grocery store and cooked up their best fire-resistant coatings yet. As important, these protective coatings can be made in one straightforward step.

Self-assembling, bioinstructive collagen materials for research, medical applications

April 9, 2015 7:50 am | by Emil Venere, Purdue Univ. | News | Comments

A Purdue Univ. researcher and entrepreneur is commercializing her laboratory's innovative collagen formulations that self-assemble or polymerize to form fibrils that resemble those found in the body's tissues. These collagen building blocks can be used to create customized 3-D tissue and organs outside the body to support basic biological research, drug discovery and chemical toxicity testing.

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Artificial hand responds to sensitively thanks to muscles made from smart metal wires

March 24, 2015 3:52 pm | by Saarland University | News | Comments

Engineers have taken a leaf out of nature's book by equipping an artificial hand with muscles made from shape-memory wire. The new technology enables the fabrication of flexible and lightweight robot hands for industrial applications and novel prosthetic devices. 

A mollusk of a different stripe

February 26, 2015 10:59 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | Videos | Comments

The blue-rayed limpet is a tiny mollusk that lives in kelp beds along the coasts of Norway, Iceland, the U.K., Portugal and the Canary Islands. These diminutive organisms might escape notice entirely, if not for a very conspicuous feature: bright blue dotted lines that run in parallel along the length of their translucent shells. Depending on the angle at which light hits, a limpet’s shell can flash brilliantly even in murky water.

Making a better wound dressing

February 13, 2015 10:18 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

With a low price tag and mild flavor, tilapia has become a staple dinnertime fish for many Americans. Now it could have another use: helping to heal our wounds. In ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, scientists have shown that a protein found in this fish can promote skin repair in rats without an immune reaction, suggesting possible future use for human patients.

Beavers Inspire Method to Aid Tooth Enamel

February 13, 2015 7:00 am | by Northwestern Univ. | News | Comments

Beavers don't brush their teeth, and they don't drink fluoridated water, but a new study reports beavers do have protection against tooth decay built into the chemical structure of their teeth: iron. This pigmented enamel, the researchers found, is both harder and more resistant to acid than regular enamel, including that treated with fluoride.

Bioengineered miniature structures could prevent heart failure

February 4, 2015 4:10 pm | by Medical College of Wisconsin | News | Comments

The delivery of tiny biodegradable microstructures to heart tissue damaged by heart attack may help repair the tissue and prevent future heart failure. A team led by cardiovascular researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin bioengineered the microstructures to be the same size, shape and stiffness as adult heart muscle cells, or cardiomyocytes, with the goal of releasing biologically active peptides that act as cardioprotective agents.

Researchers design tailored tissue adhesives

January 29, 2015 8:17 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

After undergoing surgery to remove diseased sections of the colon, up to 30% of patients experience leakage from their sutures, which can cause life-threatening complications. Many efforts are under way to create new tissue glues that can help seal surgical incisions and prevent such complications; now, a new study reveals that the effectiveness of such glues hinges on the state of the tissue in which they are being used.

DNA “glue” could be used to build tissues, organs

January 14, 2015 10:23 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

DNA molecules provide the "source code" for life in humans, plants, animals and some microbes. But now researchers report an initial study showing that the strands can also act as a glue to hold together 3-D-printed materials that could someday be used to grow tissues and organs in the laboratory.

A potential long-lasting treatment for sensitive teeth

January 8, 2015 9:22 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Rather than soothe and comfort, a hot cup of tea or cocoa can cause people with sensitive teeth a jolt of pain. But scientists are now developing a new biomaterial that can potentially rebuild worn enamel and reduce tooth sensitivity for an extended period. They describe the material, which they tested on dogs, in ACS Nano.

Honeybee hive sealant promotes hair growth in mice

January 7, 2015 2:58 pm | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Hair loss can be devastating for the millions of men and women who experience it. Now scientists are reporting that a substance from honeybee hives might contain clues for developing a potential new therapy. They found that the material, called propolis, encouraged hair growth in mice. The study appears in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Responsive material could be the “golden ticket” of sensing

January 7, 2015 7:45 am | by Univ. of Cambridge | News | Comments

Researchers from the Univ. of Cambridge have developed a new self-assembled material, which, by changing its shape, can amplify small variations in temperature and concentration of biomolecules, making them easier to detect. The material, which consists of synthetic spheres “glued” together with short strands of DNA, could be used to underpin a new class of biosensors, or form the basis for new drug delivery systems.

Bio-inspired bleeding control

November 13, 2014 4:12 pm | by Sonia Fernandez, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara | News | Comments

Stanching the free flow of blood from an injury remains a holy grail of clinical medicine. Controlling blood flow is a primary concern and first line of defense for patients and medical staff in many situations, from traumatic injury to illness to surgery. If control is not established within the first few minutes of a hemorrhage, further treatment and healing are impossible.

'Direct writing' of diamond patterns from graphite a potential technological leap

November 6, 2014 10:00 am | by Emil Venere, Purdue Univ. | News | Comments

What began as research into a method to strengthen metals has led to the discovery of a new technique that uses a pulsing laser to create synthetic nanodiamond films and patterns from graphite, with potential applications from biosensors to computer chips.

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