Standard in surgical treatment of bone fractures is
the use of metal implants, with well defined
characteristics in stiffness and strength. New
materials could however be used to create implants,
which change their mechanical properties. The
development of implants made of resorbable composite
structures could be an approach to achieve such a
Nature has for a long time dealt with the problem of
producing lightweight but robust composite
structures, which in addition are able to change, or
adapt, their mechanical properties. Spines of cacti
are one of these structure.
Cactus spines were tested for their bending stiffness
and examined by both light and electron microscopy to
determine their structural properties.
Based on these findings, experimental implants made
of bioresorbable material were produced, which
consisted of longitudinally oriented fibres, welded
with a proprietary method into plates - mimicking the
cactus spine morphology.
The fibres produced for these implants could be made
twice as strong as fibres described in the
literature. The plates finally were more than 80
times stiffer than any similar specified commercial
product, used on the market to date.