After about 10 days, the rattan wood has been transformed into the bone-like material.
The team is lead by Dr Anna Tampieri.
An X-ray of the new bone fusing with the old
Within months, the real and artificial bone will have fused
“It’s proving very promising,” she says. “This new bone material is strong, so it can take heavy loads that bodies will put on it.
“It is also durable, so, unlike existing bone substitutes, it won’t need replacing.”
Several types of wood were tested before they found rattan works best.
That is because of its structure and porous properties, which enable blood, nerves and other compounds to travel through it.
When I was a kid, I used to make rattan blowtorches — light one end of a piece on fire, put your lips to the other end, and watch the flame intensify. So I can imagine the open columns would be useful.
And in general I like to see this notion of materials scientists co-opting natural materials, which is even a step more humble than trying to synthesize mimics of them.