Skip navigation
E. Understanding the Mechanisms of Human Bone

Narrator: This is Science Today. Material scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory made use of sophisticated technology used to conduct research on advanced materials, composites and ceramics, to study the mechanisms of human bone. Robert Ritchie, a senior scientist at the Lab and chairman of Material Sciences at the University of California , Berkeley led the study.

Ritchie: Even though bone is pretty tough material, mechanistically, it behaves much more like a ceramic than it does a metal. We basically used all the techniques that we've learned and developed and analyzed in fractures and ceramics and applied them to these biological materials.

Narrator: The researchers were able to look at three-dimensional x-ray computed tomography images to get extremely high resolution views of the human bone. Ritchie says he's interested in the mechanism by which the bone breaks.

Ritchie: If you know what the mechanism is and you know how it relates to the structure, you can then relate that back to what caused such a structure to change.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.