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Surprising Science

Titanium Wolverine Bones

“Eat your heart out, Wolverine. The X-Men superhero won’t be the only one with with metal fused into his skeleton if a new titanium foam proves suitable for strengthening bones.”

“Bone implants are typically made of solid metal—usually titanium. Though well tolerated by the body, such implants are significantly stiffer than bone. This means that an implant may end up carrying a far higher load than the bone it is placed next to, according to Peter Quadbeck of the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials Research in Dresden, Germany. In a worst-case scenario, the decrease in stress placed on the bone means it will deteriorate, while the implant loosens and needs to be replaced. Now Quadbeck and colleagues have created a titanium implant with a foam-like structure, inspired by the spongy nature of bone.”


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