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Other materials stories that may be of interest

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UGA discovery uses ‘fracture putty’ to repair broken bone in days

Broken bones in humans and animals are painful and often take months to heal. Studies conducted in part by University of Georgia Regenerative Bioscience Center researchers show promise to significantly shorten the healing time and revolutionize the course of fracture treatment.”We have been successful in formulating a product that contains mesenchymal stem cells and allows them to survive in the environment of the fracture long enough to elicit the rapid formation of new bone,” says said Steve Stice, director of the Center. This year, the group showed bone can be generated in sheep in less than four weeks. The speed in which bone is formed is one of the truly unique features of this study.

MIT’s Concrete Sustainability Hub Life Cycle Assessment platform releases its February 2012 Research Profile Letter

This issue (pdf) focus on “Homes: A Match for Concrete Innovation.” In general, the LCA’s research aims at moving LCA in the design space of architects, engineers and developers, by quantifying the link between energy costs and architectural, materials and construction technology design parameters. This research makes it possible to match specific material solutions with structural tightness levels that need to be implemented in order to enhance the energy efficiency of homes in the United States.

A tough tip for nano manipulation: New coating promises to turn an atomic force microscope into an even more useful tool

IBM’s Zurich Research Laboratory-where several groundbreaking microscopy tools have been invented-has created a tough new coating for the tip of an atomic force microscope, a device that can be used to capture nanoscale imagery as the tip is run over a surface on the end of a microscopic cantilever. The coating could expand the range of ways that AFM can be used to include making lithographic masks for electronic manufacturing with features 10 nanometers in size-beyond the limits of traditional processes such as e-beam lithography.

Early study suggests nanodiamonds safe for implants

Nanodiamonds designed to toughen artificial joints also might prevent the inflammation caused when hardworking metal joints shed debris into the body, according to a new study. In the race to create longer-lasting and less-painful artificial joints, University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers are exploring whether nanodiamond coatings can reduce wear on joints made of metal alloys. Based on the way nanodiamonds interact with macrophages in a dish, the study authors suggest that the usual size and concentration of wear debris should cause neither inflammation nor toxicity. The macrophages that engulf smaller nanodiamonds release fewer inflammatory chemicals than those encountering larger particles shed by the metal and polymer surfaces of conventional implants.

Japan offers $65M in rare-earth subsidies

Japan, the world’s biggest importer of rare earths, will provide 5 billion yen ($65 million) in subsidies for projects that reduce the need for the elements as it aims to cut its reliance on imports to meet demand. The funds will support projects that reduce consumption of magnet products that use dysprosium and neodymium, improve recycling and develop new technologies, according to a statement from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. An additional 3.5 billion yen will be allocated for use from May, according to the statement.