Materials Scientists Working On Dental Enamel That Could Regenerate

You never know where an opportunity will present itself for a materials science technician. Your local dentist or dental lab may need help in the near future if this research from Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom develops.

Earlier this month, researchers announced they were working on a new way to grow “mineralized” materials that mimic hard tissues – dental enamel or bone.

The study, originally published in Nature Communications, show how new materials can be recreated to look and work like natural dental enamel. The researchers believe that it could help prevent tooth decay and sensitivity and also provide a way to treat those conditions.

According to the paper:

“Enamel, located on the outer part of our teeth, is the hardest tissue in the body and enables our teeth to function for a large part of our lifetime despite biting forces, exposure to acidic foods and drinks and extreme temperatures. This remarkable performance results from its highly organised structure.”

The paper cites “lead author Professor Alvaro Mata, also from Queen Mary’s School of Engineering and Materials Science, who said: ‘A major goal in materials science is to learn from nature to develop useful materials based on the precise control of molecular building-blocks. The key discovery has been the possibility to exploit disordered proteins to control and guide the process of mineralisation at multiple scales. Through this, we have developed a technique to easily grow synthetic materials that emulate such hierarchically organised architecture over large areas and with the capacity to tune their properties.'”

Mimic other hard tissues

As the researchers understand and control how the process of mineralization works, they believe they will be able to mimic other hard tissues. That potential makes it interesting and valuable to other specialties within the medical and dental communities, particularly in regenerative medicine.

An understanding of how materials work is going to be increasingly valuable in our materials research-based world. Whether it is dental enamel, human bones, or carbon fiber, materials science technicians have a bright future.

More resources and information:

The full research paper was published at Nature Communications: ‘Protein disorder-order interplay to guide 1 the growth of hierarchical mineralized structures’. Sherif Elsharkawy, Maisoon Al-Jawad, Maria F. Pantano, Esther Tejeda-Montes, Khushbu Mehta, Hasan Jamal, Shweta Agarwal, Kseniya Shuturminska, Alistair Rice, Nadezda V. Tarakina, Rory M. Wilson, Andy J. Bushby, Matilde Alonso, Jose C. Rodriguez-Cabello, Ettore Barbieri, Armando del Rio Hernández, Molly M. Stevens, Nicola M. Pugno, Paul Anderson, Alvaro Mata.

Details from Queen Mary University of London news post: Scientists develop material that could regenerate dental enamel. The research was funded by the European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant (STROFUNSCAFF) and the Marie Curie Integration Grant (BIOMORPH).

An early release of the research was featured in Labiotech.eu and it has a good breakdown of what it looks like and what it means for dentistry and for us as patients: Dental Enamel Biopolymers.

Photo used with permission from Queen Mary University of London. Credit: Alvaro Mata.

If you are interested in other materials science advancements for technician education (and future employment opportunity ideas), check out this post on TEAMM AM News: Disney Research Uses Materials Science To Invent Touchscreen Walls With Conductive Paint.

Disney Research Uses Materials Science To Invent Touchscreen Walls With Conductive Paint

Disney Research Uses Materials Science To Invent Touchscreen Walls With Conductive Paint

Materials science is a somewhat quiet revolution. Many of the biggest and most valuable inventions have been fueled by materials science innovations over decades. From the foundational computer chip (made from silicon material, of course) to clusters of supercomputers at the Materials Project, research teams are now doing analysis and predictions of how materials can be combined in the most efficient way possible.

A practical outcome of this sort of advanced materials research is a project between Carnegie Mellon University and Disney Research – that has found a way to change the wall in your home or apartment into a touchscreen interface.

According to the researchers, “the technique involves using water-based nickel conductive paint to create an electrode pattern (a diamond arrangement) suited to capacitive and proximity (electromagnetic) EM sensing. The pattern is then overpainted with latex paint. Each row and column is then connected to a sensor board based on a 96 MHz Cortex M4 running Teensy 3.2 firmware and piped to a laptop for visualization.”

In a nutshell, you could touch the wall to turn on a light – or the electromagnetic sensing would note your presence, your gestures, or your motion to perform an action – much like smart device users are starting to use the Amazon Echo to turn on a light or adjust the air conditioning with a voice command.

Importance to Materials Science Technician Education

The researchers call their system “Wall++” and believe that you could run a light switch or thermostat or other controllers from the wall itself. These materials science research projects are likely to create entire new categories of jobs for people to install, maintain, and service these advanced systems.

For more ideas or direction about advanced materials science technician training in the real world, check out the Nano-Link Regional Center for Nanotechnology Education, a National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education program, that provides information on nano-tech and nano-materials. One of their industry affiliate partners is the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI) which lists labs, tools, and experts.

Materials science may not be in the daily news, but it is consistently making headlines. A bright future is ahead for advanced materials and the technicians who want to be part of it.

Resources:

Hat tip to Peter Diamandis, profiled here in the AM News post, Materials Science and Additive Manufacturing Technology Convergence, in one of his recent email newsletters, shared an article link about the Disney Research work. The newsletter summary linked to this article at The Register: Turn that bachelor pad into a touch pad: Now you can paint buttons, sensors on your walls.

Here is the link to the Materials Project site mentioned above.

University of Louisville Offers Additive Manufacturing Safety Training

The University of Louisville is an active member of the TEAMM Network and recently announced they have added an Additive Manufacturing (AM) Safety Workshop, conducted through their Rapid Prototyping Center, run by Ed Tackett, Director of Educational Programs in AM.

The new program is called the “AM Metals Safety Training Workshop” and is an advanced training for AM professionals. It is a one-day session (8 contact hours) held at the Additive Manufacturing Competency Center (AMCC).

The AMCC is a fully equipped learning laboratory that includes the latest AM technologies, machining, metrology and powder handling systems. Metals additive manufacturing requires an increased environmental health and safety effort. This new workshop is designed to help new users identify hazards, reference appropriate regulations and develop a mitigation strategy. Learn more about the AM Metals Safety workshop.

This workshop is designed to benefit supervisors, lead workers, managers, employers, and anyone responsible for the safety and health of employees and labs. The workshop covers various types of standard machinery, machine safeguards, and related regulations and procedures for metals additive manufacturing.

In an Additive Manufacturing magazine post by Christina M. Fuges, there is a good interview on safety with Ed Tackett. He shares a story about companies not realizing they have major safety risks with AM:

There’s recognition of the need to be safe, but the real question is what does it take? AMCC seeks to ensure students know the risks specific to AM and how to mitigate those risks. Believe it or not, companies are not being safe. We had a group come in for training, and after the initial day’s safety lecture, they immediately called their company to shut down the AM lab. They had no idea some of these dangers existed.

The AM Metals Safety Training Workshop was created to help reduce these risks and get new and experienced technicians up to speed on the safety needs with advanced metals 3D printing.  TEAMM is a strong proponent for materials/workplace safety and believes this class is a trendsetter in AM lab standards.  As new materials are developed and 3D printers are increasingly capable of utilizing multiple materials, it is imperative that technicians understand these materials’ properties both individually and as they are combined during the AM process. Learn more about the AM Metals Safety workshop.

Student Learning Outcomes

By the end of this training workshop, students will be able to:

identify safety issues for a metals additive manufacturing facility.

  • interpret the various safety regulations and apply that knowledge to their specific situation
  • formulate a site specific safety plan

Workshop topics include:

Personal Protection

  • Job Hazard Analysis
  • General PPE
  • Hazard Specific PPE
  • Gloves
  • Protective Suits
  • Respirators
  • Flame resistant PPE
  • ESD Considerations

Facility Safety

  • Powder Descriptions
  • Powder Storage
  • Waste Storage
  • Electrostatic Safety
  • Inert Gas Monitoring
  • Laser Safety
  • Downdraft Tables
  • Fire Suppression
  • Industrial Hygiene

Operational Safety

  • Wet separator vacuum maintenance
  • Increased Hazard Events
  • Hydrogen production
  • Filter Changes

Current Regulations (Discussion)

  • OSHA
  • NFPA
  • EPA

SAMPLE standard operating procedures (SOP’s)

  • General Safety Concepts for Additive Manufacturing
  • Storage of Metal Powder
  • Handling of Metal Powder
  • Cleanup of Spilled Metal Powder
  • Disposal of Metal Waste Powder
  • Emergency Response for Fire Involving Metal Powder
  • Use, Storage, and Care of PPE
  • Use and Handling of Compressed Gas

Worth mentioning, under the banner of educating  technicians and instructors, UofL also conducted one of the AM-WATCH teacher training workshops that AM News reported on: TEAMM Network Member Creates Additive Manufacturing Studio. You can check out the UofL event details here from their December 2017 workshop.

TEAMM appreciates UofL taking the lead on safety topics in AM technician level education. This work is part of a larger project funded by the Advanced Technological Education Program of the National Science Foundation, DUE #1501251

AeroDef Manufacturing Event Rich in Additive Manufacturing and Materials Science

AeroDef Manufacturing, produced by SME, is the leading exposition and technical conference for the aerospace and defense manufacturing industry. It is a veritable who’s who of additive manufacturing and materials science experts and companies.

If you are a student looking for an internship or job, this looks like a great place to network and get ideas for companies you might want to explore. Students get a 50 percent discount. Also, if you are one of the 18,000 people who has been trained by the Abaris Training company, you can get a 20 percent discount (the same as an SME Member) as well. Abaris Training helped to guide the very successful Composites 101 Workshop done here at the National Resource Center for Materials Technology Education (MatEdU) in Edmonds, Washington. Read about it on the SME AdditiveManufacturing.org site: Pilot Composites Workshop Wows Students.

AeroDef is putting a big focus on mixed reality, a combination of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) this year. Attendees have a chance to be a part of live, participative demonstrations of augmented and virtual reality technologies in the Mixed Reality Solution Center.

TEAMM and AM News have been covering manufacturing and materials science advances utilizing virtual reality. You can read about Dr. Magesh Chandramouli, from Purdue University Northwest, who gave a keynote at last year’s M-STEM event about how VR can be incorporated into the student learning experience. Also, the Edmonds Community College makerspace, The FACILITY, is working on a virtual reality framework for digital manufacturing instruction with its VR Lab.

Starting from design engineering all the way through maintenance and repair, participants can test capabilities and see firsthand the benefits of these technologies. In addition, attendees are encouraged to join the Mixed Reality in Manufacturing panel discussion on Tuesday, March 28 to learn how leading companies are applying the technologies throughout the supply chain.

According to the website: “AeroDef showcases the industry’s most advanced technologies across an innovative floor plan designed to facilitate interaction and business relationships between exhibitors and buyers looking for integrated solutions. Our keynote speakers and panelists come from the highest level of government and business. They come to share their vision of the potential of technology, collaboration and public policy to transform manufacturing – concepts that attendees can actually experience on the exposition floor and in our in-depth conference sessions. It’s the one event that brings together high-concept, integrated solutions and real-world applications.”

Explore innovative advances in processes and materials:

  • Digital Manufacturing
  • Additive Manufacturing & 3D Technologies
  • Composites
  • Precision Machining
  • Automation & Robotics
  • Quality, Measurement & Inspection
  • Simulation
  • Finishing & Coatings
  • Advanced Materials

You can learn more about SME’s AeroDef Manufacturing conference that starts March 26, 2018 here.

 

TEAMM Network Member Profile: Nano-Link at Dakota County Technical College

Some facts are too big to comprehend: A trillion dollars of US debt. While some are tiny and just as difficult: A sheet of paper is 100,000 nanometers thick. Human hair is 80,000 nanometers wide. And a strand of human DNA is a mere 2.5 nanometers in diameter. Nano-Link, supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, focuses on these tiniest of atoms and molecules, but it has a big vision.

Forecasts of nanotechnology workforce needs cite 500,000 nanotechnology technicians needed by 2020. As an Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Regional Center, Nano-Link, is tasked with growing both an industry and an education network to help meet these workforce needs, according to the website.

Watch Deb Newberry, former Principal Investigator for the Nano-Link project, explain the vision for nanotechnology for today’s students.

Nanotechnology covers subjects from physics and chemistry to emerging technologies such as photonics and biotechnology. It looks at market segments that go beyond the traditional electronics and materials industries, to encompass segments as diversified as lubricants, paper manufacturing, cellulose, energy, consumer products and the food industry.

Nano-Link began in 2008 at Dakota County Technical College creating a NanoScience 2-year Degree. With 10 years under their belt, the program continues to provide nanoscience course content to colleges: The Nano-Infusion Program (NIP) provides hands-on training, specialized modules that they offer at your location, at no cost to you. These products and services are for use in the (7 – 14) classroom or boardroom.

According to the website, the Nano-Link goals include:

  • Create a nationwide alliance of institutions that are the pipeline for the nanotechnology workforce.
  • Develop alliance faculty capacity to interface with industry, correlate industry-needed skills with program or course competencies and outcomes, and develop continuing relationships responsive to the changing technology environment.
  • Prepare students for the nanoscience and emerging technologies workforce.
  • Create a consortium of secondary educators that are masters in nanoscience education to engage students, including URMs.
  • Industry organizations and representatives are an integral part of the Nano-Link National Center.

Nano-Link has successfully advanced nanotechnology across nine colleges and two high schools. As they train the trainers, the program continues to grow and expand, proving that even the tiniest of molecules can make a difference.

Additional Resources: If you are looking for Core Competencies (performance indicators), the National Resource Center for Materials Technology Education offers a range of them. It specifically has a downloadable PDF for Nanotechnology Core Competencies.

According to the MatEdU website on Core competencies: “[they] provide a set of performance indicators that technicians, scientists, engineers, educators and technologists need to know in today’s advanced manufacturing environment to be able to accomplish in their work.”