If you wanted to build artificial bones, what material would you use? I don’t know about you, but wood wouldn’t have been high up my list.
To create the bone substitute, the scientists start with a block of wood — red oak, rattan and sipo work best — and heat it until all that remains is pure carbon, which is basically charcoal.
The scientists then spray calcium over the carbon, creating calcium carbide. Additional chemical and physical steps convert the calcium carbide into carbonated hydroxyapatite, which can then be implanted and serves as the artificial bone.
The entire process takes about one week and costs about $850 for a single block. One block translates to about one bone implant.
I’ve no idea how that compares with other artificial bone manufacture techniques on price and speed, but it’s still fairly impressive on novelty value alone. [via SlashDot]