Marine CaCO3 skeletons have tailored architectures created by nature, which give them structural support and other functions. For example, seashells have dense lamellar structures, while coral, cuttlebone and sea urchin spines have interconnected porous structures. In our experiments, seashells, coral and cuttlebone were hydrothermally converted to hydroxyapatite (HAP), and sea urchin spines were converted to Mg-substituted tricalcium phosphate, while maintaining their original structures. Partially converted shell samples have mechanical strength, which is close to that of compact human bone. After implantation of converted shell and spine samples in rat femoral defects for 6 weeks, there was newly formed bone growth up to and around the implants. Some new bone was found to migrate through the pores of converted spine samples and grow inward. These results show good bioactivity and osteoconductivity of the implants, indicating the converted shell and spine samples can be used as bone defect fillers. The interconnected porous HAP scaffolds from converted coral or cuttlebone that have pore size larger than 100 μm likely support infiltration of bone cells and vessels, and finally encourage new bone ingrowth.
Hyperthermia has long been considered as an adjuvant therapy for treating various diseases. Cancer treatment exploiting hyperthermia shows great clinical potential for a wide range of tumors. Importantly, the efficacy of hyperthermal therapy has recently been enhanced by the development of functional nanomaterials. The unique physicochemical properties of nanomaterials afford the specific localization of hyperthermia to primary tumors and early-stage cancers. In particular, due to their high rate of light-to-heat conversion and their capacity to be activated by tissue-penetrating electromagnetic radiation, near-infrared (NIR) light-absorbing plasmonic nanomaterials have attracted considerable attention as candidates for noninvasive photothermal therapy. The purpose of this article is to provide a overview on the current development in multifunctional nanomaterials capable of combined hyperthermia-chemotherapy delivery.
Silk fibroin (SF) is a kind of natural polymers with a great potential in biomedical application. Due to its good biocompatibility, biodegradability and minimal inflammatory reaction, SF is an excellent candidate for generating tissue engineering scaffolds. Electrospinning is a simple and effective method to fabricate nanofibers, which has several amazing characteristics such as very large surface area to volume ratio, flexibility in surface functionalities, and superior mechanical performance. The electrospun nanofibers from SF and its blends have been used for varied tissue engineering. This paper will give a brief review about the structure, properties and applications of SF and blend nanofibers via electrospinning.
In recent years, nanocrystalline materials with grain size below 100 nm have attracted much interest due to their excellent chemical, physical, and optical properties. This review focuses on the irradiation effects of nanocrystalline materials. It has been generally believed that nanocrystalline materials have a great potential to increase irradiation resistance in the future reactor because of a large fraction of grain boundaries or interfaces that could absorb and annihilate mobile defects which produced during irradiation. Some calculation results and experiment results revealed that nanocrystalline materials can enhance irradiation resistance, while some reports showed that nanocrystalline materials exhibit worse irradiation resistance, or even amorphous at a lower irradiation dose compared with their bulk materials. During the irradiation process, the grain growth dominated by irradiation dose, thermal effect or defects was also disputed. Irradiation is also an important tool to tailor the grain size, phase structure and physical properties of the materials.
Third generation synchrotron X-rays provide an unprecedented opportunity for microstructural characterization of many engineering materials as well as natural materials. This article demonstrates the usage of three techniques for the study of structural materials: differential-aperture X-ray microscopy (DAXM), three-dimensional X-ray diffraction (3DXRD), and simultaneous wide angle/small angle X-ray scattering (WAXS/SAXS). DAXM is able to measure the 3D grain structure in polycrystalline materials with high spatial and angular resolution. In a deformed material, streaked diffraction peaks can be used to analyze local dislocation content in individual grains. Compared to DAXM, 3DXRD is able to map grains in bulk materials more quickly at the expense of spatial resolution. It is very useful for studying evolving microstructures when the materials are under deformation. WAXS/SAXS is suitable for studying materials with inhomogeneous structure, such as precipitate strengthened alloys. Structural information revealed by WAXS and SAXS can be combined for a deeper insight into material behavior. Future development and applications of these three techniques will also be discussed.
Oil spills in the sea have caused many serious environmental problems worldwide. In this study, carbon nanotube (CNT) sponges were used to cleanup oil slicks on sea waters. This method was compared with two traditional representative sorbents, including polypropylene fiber fabric and woolen felt. The CNT sponges had a larger oil sorption capacity than the other two sorbents. The maximum oil sorption capacity (
In this paper, silk sericin was employed to regulate the mineralization of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). CaCO3 composite particles were prepared by the precipitation reaction of sodium carbonate with calcium chloride solution in the presence of silk sericin. The as-prepared samples were collected at different reaction time to study the crystallization process of CaCO3 by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and X-ray diffraction (XRD). The results showed that silk sericin significantly affected the morphology and crystallographic polymorph of CaCO3. With increasing the reaction time, the crystal phase of CaCO3 transferred from calcite dominated to vaterite dominated mixtures, while the morphology of CaCO3 changed from disk-like calcite crystal to spherical vaterite crystal. These studies showed the potential of silk sericin used as a template molecule to control the growth of inorganic crystal.
The thermal shock behavior of ZrB2--SiC ceramics was studied with water, air and methyl silicone oil as quenching media, respectively. The temperature of all coolants was room temperature (25°C) and the residual strength of the ceramics after quenching was tested. The strength of the ceramics after water quenching had an obvious drop when the temperature difference, Δ
Dense hydroxyapatite (HA) ceramic is a promising material for hard tissue repair due to its unique physical properties and biologic properties. However, the brittleness and low compressive strength of traditional HA ceramics limited their applications, because previous sintering methods produced HA ceramics with crystal sizes greater than nanometer range. In this study, nano-sized HA powder was employed to fabricate dense nanocrystal HA ceramic by high pressure molding, and followed by a three-step sintering process. The phase composition, microstructure, crystal dimension and crystal shape of the sintered ceramic were examined by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Mechanical properties of the HA ceramic were tested, and cytocompatibility was evaluated. The phase of the sintered ceramic was pure HA, and the crystal size was about 200 nm. The compressive strength and elastic modulus of the HA ceramic were comparable to human cortical bone, especially the good fatigue strength overcame brittleness of traditional sintered HA ceramics. Cell attachment experiment also demonstrated that the ceramics had a good cytocompatibility.