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D. Chemists Aim to Replicate Nature Using Artificial Materials

Narrator: This is Science Today. Carbon has several forms, including diamond and graphite, and now researchers at the University of California , Riverside are looking into using another form, an extremely strong cylindrical molecule called the carbon nanotube, as a scaffold to help heal broken bones. Chemistry professor, Robert Haddon describes the process.

Haddon: Our approach is based on the idea of working with nature to try to replicate what nature does but while using artificial materials. The idea is that, in order to regrow the bone, some structural direction or some sort of placement inside the body might be necessary.

Narrator: The size and strength of carbon nanotubes makes them ideal for regrowing bone.

Haddon: It is the strongest material known, yet it's much lighter than conventional strong materials such as steel. The size is what probably sets them apart. The diameter of a nanotube is about a nanometer is about 100,000 times thinner than a human hair.

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