Scientists at The University of Manchester, UK, are investigating the use of electrospun polycaprolactone nanofibres to regenerate damaged tendons. Because the bundle of fibres replicates the morphology of tendon tissue, researchers envisage that the synthetic structure will perform the mechanical function of the tendon while it repairs itself, as well as act as a temporary scaffold to promote cell migration and new tissue formation.
Plart – a museum dedicated to researching non-destructive testing for the restoration and conservation of plastic artefacts – opened on 25 January 2008 in Naples, Italy. The aim is to set up a characterisation and conservation protocol specific thermosetting plastics and thermoplastics. Polyurethane, PVC and cellulose acetate and nitrate materials are recognised as the most difficult materials to conserve from degradation.
An environmentally friendly method for introducing hydrophobic propeties and electrical conductivity to wood fibres has been developed by researchers in Finland. This could find use in packaging, composite and paper applications.
Scientists at Princeton University, USA, claim to have produced the first 3D metamaterial constructed entirely from semiconductors. They believe the new design could offer a cost effective way of creating negative refractive lenses for high-speed communications, medical diagnostics and detecting terrorist threats.
Nanofuels are the subject of a new feasibility study at Queen Mary, University of London, UK. They could provide a more environmentally sustainable alternative to fossil fuels, say researchers. The concept is to inject wet and dry fuels made from silicon, aluminium or iron nanoparticles (separately, as single fuels) into internal combustion engines.
Scientists at the University of Virginia, based in Charlottesville, USA, claim to have discovered a material, made from titanium atoms complexed with ethylene, that can store large quantities of hydrogen at room temperature. This could help in the search for a more efficient and affordable hydrogen-powered fuel cell.