Tissue engineering is generally conceived as a tool to re-establish lost functionality and morphology to a previously damaged tissue. In this regard, several strategies combine scientific advances in medical treatment and therapeutics but also in the field of engineering and biomaterials. Structural design in biological tissues often relates to a specific mechanical function besides fulfilling other functional requirements. The mineralised tissues bone and dentine are composites of the inorganic mineral hydroxyapatite and - similar to cartilage and tendon - the protein collagen. While bone combines light weight with flexibility and strength, allowing and repairing damage, dentine is being characterized as material sustaining high cyclic loads virtually without failure over the lifetime of the organism.
Regarding the transfer of structure-property-relationships from nature to engineering, the author states that âIt is not evident at all that the lessons learned from hierarchical biological materials will be applicable immediately to the design of new engineering materials. The reason arises from striking differences between the design strategies common in engineering and those used by nature, which are contributed by the different sets of elements used by nature and the engineer. Hierarchically Structured Biomaterials for Tissue Engineering: Rolf Zehbe and Claudia Fleck
Last date updated on July, 2014