Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



TECH SPACE
The secret of resistance: Shattering into a thousand pieces
by Staff Writers
Trieste, Italy (SPX) Nov 06, 2015


This image shows a single layer of epithelial cells stretched (left) and then released (right). On the right, cracks clearly visible along the cell junction lines. The cracks originated from the coupling of the epithelial tissue with the hydrogel substrate -- Credits: L. Casares and X. Trepat, IBEC, Barcellona (DOWNLOAD HD). Image courtesy Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia. For a larger version of this image please go here.

Being all in one piece is not always a good strategy for resisting external strain. Biological tissues are well aware of it: they tend to crack simultaneously and gradually in several places, rather than catastrophically in one place only. This makes them particularly resistant.

A group of SISSA researchers conducted a theoretical study that explains the mechanism underlying this phenomenon, which was experimentally observed in epithelial cell cultures. By doing so, they take their first steps towards creating artificial materials with features inspired by biomaterials. Materials of this kind may have a number of applications, for example in the medical field. The study has just been published in Physical Review Letters.

Biological tissues (blood vessel walls, skin, bones ...) are incredibly resistant: continuously stretched, deformed and bashed about, but they do not tear. The secret lies in an apparently paradoxical property of theirs: these tissues tend to crack simultaneously in several places rather than in one (or a few) only.

This is explained in a new study just published in Physical Review Letters and conducted by a group of researchers at the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) of Trieste in conjunction with scientists of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia.

"Strange as it sounds, a system capable of fracturing at several points is far more resistant than one that fractures in a localized fashion", explains Alessandro Lucantonio, SISSA researcher and first author of the study together with Giovanni Noselli, also from SISSA.

The Italian team, led by SISSA professor Antonio DeSimone, carried out a theoretical analysis of the phenomenon, starting from the experimental data produced by the Spanish group (and previously published). The result of the study is a detailed description of the behaviour of these tissues when they are subjected to the action of external forces.

The computer simulation produced by DeSimone's team considered a single layer of epithelial cells coupled with a hydrogel substrate. The layer of cells was first stretched and then released.

"Surprisingly, the cracks never appeared under stretch but only after release", explains Noselli. "We also observed - and this came quite as a surprise as well - that cracks appeared in many places, along the cell junction lines where one cell is in contact with another".

In the process, the authors explain, the hydrogel substrate - which represents the extracellular matrix in which biological tissues are normally immersed - is particularly important. We need to picture the hydrogel as a sort of sponge in which water is trapped.

"It's the presence of this substrate that facilitates multiple cracking: when the system is compressed the fluid trapped in the hydrogel pores is forced inside the small cracks at the cell junctions in the epithelial cell layer, causing them to open" explains Lucantonio. By using computer simulations, the researchers determined which specific features of the hydrogel are responsible for promoting distributed cracking.

So here's how the scientist explains the paradoxical effect of multiple cracking: "having to force several fracture points, the overall energy required for system failure increases" says Noselli. "Systems that undergo distributed cracking are therefore more resistant than others where the fracture occurs in a localized manner".

Biomimetics
The work carried out by DeSimone and his group is not mere speculation: tissues having resistance similar to that of biological tissues are highly desirable for applications in a number of fields.

"The possibility of regulating the permeability of a film by mechanical strain or the possibility of releasing drugs in a controlled manner through a membrane", explains DeSimone, "are of great interest for biomedical applications".

DeSimone and his team at SISSA are working on the project SAMBAbiomat, which deals precisely with "biomimetics", that is, the study of natural processes and materials with a view to engineering them for new technological applications.

"Materials and mechanisms like those investigated in our latest paper may, for example, be applied in small 'devices' (microrobots) to be used in 'tasks' that are useful to humans."

Still in the field of biomimetics, De Simone and his colleagues conducted a series of studies on the motion of algae and micro-organisms, which may one day be used to design microscopic mobile devices.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

.


Related Links
International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA)
Space Technology News - Applications and Research






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
TECH SPACE
Researchers have the chemistry to make a star
Canberra, Australia (SPX) Nov 06, 2015
Chemists have created a star-shaped molecule previously thought to be too unstable to be made. The team created the five-pronged molecule [5]radialene, in work that could lead to more efficient ways to make medicinal agents, said lead researcher, Professor Michael Sherburn from The Australian National University (ANU). "This proof that we can make a compound that so many people thought cou ... read more


TECH SPACE
All-female Russian crew starts Moon mission test

Russian moon mission would need 4 Angara-A5V launches

Study reveals origin of organic matter in Apollo lunar samples

Russia touts plan to land a man on the Moon by 2029

TECH SPACE
NASA mission reveals speed of solar wind stripping Martian atmosphere

Martian desiccation

Delving into the atmosphere of Mars

Shining a light on the aurora of Mars

TECH SPACE
Magic plant discovery could lead to growing food in space

NASA Armstrong Hosts Convergent Aeronautics Solutions Showcase

Got the right stuff? NASA is hiring astronauts

Studying Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Scientifically with UFODATA

TECH SPACE
China's self-developed Mars probe to be on show

Could Sino-U.S. cooperation bring the Martian home?

China's scientific satellites to enter uncharted territory

Declaration approved to promote Asia Pacific space cooperation

TECH SPACE
US astronauts dodge ammonia on risky spacewalk

UK astronaut dreams of heavenly Christmas pudding

NASA drops Boeing from race for $3.5 billion cargo contract

Space Station offers valuable lessons about life support systems

TECH SPACE
China launches new communication satellite

Russian Space Agency signs contracts for 31 commercial launches in 2015

Russia to refurbish satan missiles as cheaper launchers

Full-Scale Drills at Russia's Vostochny Cosmodrome to Start in Two Weeks

TECH SPACE
Distant world's weather is mixed bag of hot dust and molten rain

Disk gaps don't always signal planets

Finding New Worlds with a Play of Light and Shadow

Did Jupiter Expel A Rival Gas Giant

TECH SPACE
The secret of resistance: Shattering into a thousand pieces

From good to bad with a copper switch

Diamonds may not be so rare as once thought

Researchers have the chemistry to make a star




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement