Bone bending secrets revealed, according to an article in ESRF News 8 Nov 2006. Bone is made up of tiny crystals of a mineral called apatite embedded in fibrous matrix. The mineral gives the bone its hardness, but it is brittle and would easily crack under the normal stresses and strains that bones are subjected to. Scientists at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) have studied the way the fibrous and mineral parts of the bone are affected when the bone is placed under strain. They found that the way the fibrous and mineral components are organised most of the strain is taken by the fibrous component, with less than a fifth passed onto the mineral.

They also found that the tiny crystallites in bones are two to three times more crack resistant than bulk apatite mineral. Himadri Gupta, who was involved in the study, commented: “The outcome of this research may contribute to a future development of bio-inspired and new nano-composite materials. On a medical level, it may help to understand how a molecular level change can make whole bones more prone to fracture in diseases like osteoporosis.” The researchers hope to continue their studies to see how the “design principles” in bone differ with age and disease.

Editorial Comment: This study shows us that it is not the substance that bone is made from, but the way the components are put together, that gives it its special property of hardness combined with resilience. If biologists and engineers are able to come up with “bio-inspired and new nano-composite materials” that have the properties of bone, it will be because they applied information from their minds to the materials they used, and organised the materials in a similar way to bone. Therefore, they should be able to recognise the application of information from the mind of the Creator of bone and give Him the honour due to Him. (Ref. biotechnology, biomimicry, osteology)

Evidence News 5 December 2006