Feeds

Fraunhofer boffins develop 'Titanium foam' endoskeletal implants

Vorsprung durch bendo-Materialforschung

The next step in data security

Titanium - it's everywhere these days, long having spread beyond its initial uses in aerospace. Fruitbite laptops are cased in it, high-end tools and cutlery are made from it, there's even jewellery.

Titanium foam developed by the Fraunhofer Institutes. Credit: IFAM

The latest in foamalloy endoskeletons.

Titanium alloy is also used for medical implants, and is well thought of in that role. But it seems that the miracle metal - as strong as steel but half the weight - is inconveniently stiff. The human bone that it replaces is bendier, and superstiff titanium replacements can cause adjacent bones, relieved of loads which would normally be put on them due to their yielding neighbours, to atrophy from lack of work. Also a normal titanium implant, though it often bonds well with the bone it is attached to, can break free.

Enter the remorseless German boffins of the Fraunhofer Institutes, whose tolerance for unsatisfactory situations is famously nonexistent. They say they've come with a brilliant new piece of technology in the form of titanium "foam".

Not only is titanofoam bendy like a bone, it is also easier for living bone to bond to, according to the remorseless Fraunhofer scientists of the Institut für Fertigungstechnik und Angewandte Materialforschung (IFAM) and the Institut für Keramische Technologien und Systeme (IKTS).

"The mechanical properties of titanium foams made this way closely approach those of the human bone", reports Doktor-Ingenieur Peter Quadbeck of IFAM. "This applies foremost to the balance between extreme durability and minimal rigidity."

The "TiFoam" is made by soaking ordinary polyurethane foam in a solution containing fine titanium powder. Then everything except the titanium is brutally vapourised and the powder sintered together, forming a metallic replica of the original polyurethane.

According to this statement issued by the IFAM, the Fraunhoferites' commercial partner says it will develop TiFoam bone implants "soon". ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Bacon-related medical breakthrough wins Ig Nobel prize
Is there ANYTHING cured pork can't do?
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Stray positrons caught on ISS hint at DARK MATTER source
Landlubber scope-gazers squint to horizons and see anti-electron count surge
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.