The panels are produced in sheets and rolls between .6 and 5 millimeters thick. During the continuous production process, multidirectional fiberglass mats are saturated with epoxy resins and additives.
LAMILUX spent three years collaborating with scientists and healthcare professionals to develop the panels, which are currently being tested in operating room walls of the Asklepios Clinic in Bad Abach, Germany. In addition to medical settings, the company believes the panels could be used in other sectors that require strict hygiene, including the food industry.
With its fibrous protein framework supporting aqueous components, human tissue is perhaps the ultimate composite. During the past three decades, tissue engineering has gained prominence as a way to create replacements for damaged or missing tissue. Tissue engineering is the practice of combining cells, engineered materials and biologically active molecules into functional tissues. Although some engineered tissues, including those for wound care, have moved into the commercial market, many others, like cartilage, remain the focus of intensive research.
Currently available engineered cartilage includes hydrogels reinforced with nanofibers, microfibers and woven or non-woven scaffolds. Non-woven scaffolds include those manufactured using 3D printing and electrospinning, a technique which uses an electrical charge to pull fibers from liquid.
None of these engineered cartilages meet the necessary mechanical or biological requirements, according to Dietmar W. Hutmacher, chair of regenerative medicine at the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, Australia, and Jos Malda, associate professor of joint regeneration at Utrecht University in the Netherlands and adjunct professor at QUT. The two lead a team of international scientists who are using a unique 3D printing technique to fabricate a new hydrogel composite that approaches the stiffness and elasticity of human cartilage.
The researchers state that although electrospun meshes have perhaps the best potential to mimic natural tissue because of their submicron fiber diameters, traditional 3D printing techniques have limited control over fiber architecture. So the researchers developed a melt electrospinning technique in direct write mode, which they say allows for layer-by-layer assembly of low-diameter fibers into a highly organized architecture.