Scientists at North Carolina State University have developed a new lightweight “metal foam” with elasticity similar to bone that could lead to a new generation of medical implants, likely overcoming a range of problems associated with devices currently in widespread use. “Our composite foam can be a perfect implant material to prevent stress shielding,” said Rabiei, the lead researcher. “This is because the modulus of our composite foam is matching perfectly with that of bone. That means when the implant is in the body and a load is applied to the bone, as a result of walking, chewing, etc., both the implant and the surrounding bone will take a fair share of the load,” Rabiei said. “It is unlike bulk metal implants, in which the metal takes on the majority of load.” When this occurs, “the bone starts to become lazy and eventually dies because it is ‘left out,’ and is not active anymore,” she added.
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