SYNTHESES and CHARACTERIZATIONS of BIOINSPIRED COMPOSITES with REGENERATION CAPABILITY
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The objective of this research is to investigate synthetic pathways for bioinspired materials with regeneration ability. This study is a part of a larger study on bioinspired composites motivated by current challenges of synthetic structural materials, such as fixed mechanical properties and degradation over time. To address these challenges, we are inspired by natural materials such as bones and coral reefs that can adapt to their environment and regenerate. Built upon previous findings that negatively charged scaffolds serve as templates for mineral formation from the medium with ions by attracting positive mineral ions, we hypothesized that if we use a scaffold with negatively charged surfaces, the damage of the mineralized scaffold will expose underlying negative charges so that it can provide “signals” for inducing mineral deposition, thus repairing the damaged mineral layer. To test the hypothesis, we utilized piezoelectric materials that convert mechanical loading into electrical charges as scaffolds. After forming minerals by immersing into a simulated body fluid (SBF) that mimics the ionic concentrations of human blood, we damaged the parts of the minerals and re-immersed samples into the SBF. Then, we compared the thickness profiles of the minerals before and after re-immersing by using an optical profiler. We also studied the effects of different piezoelectric scaffolds such as Polyvinylidene fluoride and piezoelectric composite. We found that the damaged areas were regenerated with minerals while more studies are needed for a quantitative understanding of the mechanism. We envision that our findings can contribute to developing novel synthetic materials with regeneration capability with applications including coatings for bone-implants and remineralization of teeth.