Thank you for this informative article on a topic I didn't know much about, Thomas. As someone who did not do so well in chemistry and physics at school, it's fascinating to ponder materials science and learn about all the forms a different metal can take and those various uses.
Thomas, you mention that porous metals can be made with a wide variety of metalurgical properties. How strong can they be made, in terms of flexure and elastic properties? Are there some high-strength applications?
Can these materials be used for implants and/or replacements? I was not aware of the dangers of infection in joint replacements until my brother had to have both knees redone due to infection. Could porous metals allow for blood flow thereby allowing your own bodies defense mechanisms help ward off infection. Also will the surrounding tissues be able to adhere.
I wonder if instead of using porous metals that something such as cement or ceramics could be substituted on a much larger scale using 3D printing. This would not only make it cost effective for medical professionals but also help reduce the over mining of rare-earth metals.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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