Biological tissues have evolved over millennia to be perfectly optimized for their specific functions. Take cartilage as an example. It’s a compliant, elastic tissue that’s soft enough to cushion joints, but strong enough to resist compression and withstand the substantial load bearing of our bodies: key for running, jumping, and our daily wear and tear.
Creating synthetic replacements which truly match the properties and behaviors of biological tissues hasn’t been easy. But University of Colorado Denver scientists, led by mechanical engineer professor Chris Yakacki, PhD, are the first to 3D print a complex, porous lattice structure using liquid crystal elastomers (LCEs) creating devices that can finally mimic cartilage and other biological tissues.
The CU Denver team, including professor Kai Yu, PhD, postdoctoral fellow Devesh Mistry, PhD, and doctoral student Nicholas Traugutt, as well as scientists from the Southern University of Science and Technology in China, reported its findings this week in the journal Advanced Materials.
At the CU Denver College of Engineering, Design and Computing, we focus on providing our students with a comprehensive engineering education at the undergraduate, graduate and professional level. Faculty conduct research that spans our five disciplines of civil, electrical and mechanical engineering, bioengineering, and computer science and engineering. The college collaborates with industry from around the state; our laboratories and research opportunities give students the hands-on experience they need to excel in the professional world.