New bio-ceramization processes applied to vegetable hierarchical structures

Principal Investigator: Anna Tampieri
Involved Personnel: Simone Sprio, Monica Sandri
Starting date: 20/09/2006
Duration: 48 months
Total Funding: 2.600.000 €
Action: FP6-NMP4-CT-2006-033277
Coordinator: Anna Tampieri (CNR-ISTEC)
Consortium: 9 partners from 7 European Countries

Partners: ISTEC-CNR Italy, University of Erlangen-Nuernberg (Germany), University of Seville (Spain), WOOD K PLUS (Austria), Istituto RIZZOLI- University of Bologna (Italy), FINCERAMICA (Italy), LEMI (France), Eindhoven University of Technology (Nederland), Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Norway).



TEM-PLANT project focuses on the development and application of breakthrough processes to transform plant-derived hierarchical structures into templates for the exploitation of innovative biomedical devices with smart anisotropic performances and advanced biomechanical characteristics, designed for bone and ligament substitution. Natural bio-structures usually have properties superior to those of analogous synthetically manufactured materials with similar phase compositions.The remarkable biomechanical properties of bone and ligament tissues depend on their hierarchic structure, which is an organized assembly of structural units at increasing size levels. In fact, these structures are highly organized from the molecular to nano-, micro- and macro-scales, always in a hierarchical manner, with intricate but extremely functional architectures able to constantly adapt to ever changing mechanical needs.The TEM-PLANT project primary addresses the nano-biotechnologies area and will push the current boundaries of the state-of-the-art in production of hierarchical structured biomaterials. By combining biology, chemistry, materials science, nano-technology and production technologies, new and complex plant transformation processes will be investigated to copy smart hierarchical structures existing in nature and to develop breakthrough biomaterials that could open the door to a whole new generation of biomedical applications for which no effective solution exists to date.Starting from suitably selected vegetal raw material, ceramization processes based on pyrolysis will be applied to produce carbon templates, which will be either infiltrated by silicon to produce inert SiC ceramic structures or exchanged by electrophoresis deposition to produce bioresobable ceramics. For ligament yielding two processes will be developed: pH-controlled and electrophoresis- controlled fibration to generate fibrous collagenous cords with high tensile strength and wear-resistance.