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Max Planck Institute for Medical Research Scientists Discover A Novel Construction Principle At The Nanoscale Which Prevents Bones From Breaking At Excessive Force



11/14/2006 10:20:21 AM

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces have found a new design principle at the nanoscale which is responsible for the enormous stability and deformabilty of bone. They found that a piece of bone stretches more than the fibres and much more than the mineral it is composed of. The scientists applied a novel technique based on the use of a brilliant beam of X-ray photons at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble, France. The same bone tissue may deform differently at different scales because of the shearing of a thin glue layer between the fibres that make up bone, as well as between the tiny mineral particles that lie inside a fibre. This construction allows bones to sustain large strains without breaking, despite being made of essentially rigid units at the molecular level (PNAS, November 9, 2006).

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