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Smart Metal

Russian scientists invented unique metallic systems with shape-memory which allow strengthening deformed bones and due to solid fixation of fragments, the postoperative period gets much shorter as opposed to “classic” fixators.

How physicists helped doctors

Application of new materials and technical progress became a base for advances in modern medicine. Our engineering physicists helped doctors create unique endoprostheses capable of correcting bone defects. And their shape memory metal constructions allow making artificial joints and straightening deformed bones.

A smart metal capable of «memorizing» shape, given by its manufacturers is an alloy of titanium - 55% and nickel (nitinol) - 45%, applied in medicine for rectification of bones.

In 1965 nitinol was created in the USA. It is used in fire detection devices where nitinol recollects the set form at 78 degrees, and in pipe connections, where nitinol is triggered at 50 degrees. It is also used in air-conditioning systems where the air access in the valve is closed and opened by means of nitinol.

Modern dental braces, by the way, are also made ​​of nitinol wire. This metal has a constant pressure on teeth for a long time, bringing them into the desired form. Earlier braces were made of steel, and patients had to go to the doctor every three days to have them adjusted, which caused pain. And in three days after the rectifying effect was lost.

Our scientists used nitinol in medicine; the metal was flexible in the cold, and unltrastrong in the human body at 37 degrees.To illustrate the strength of the produced material, a simple experiment is carried out, when a curved plate which “memorized” its initial shape is put into the glass. Then a glass filled with warm water of 37-38 degrees, the plate will start unbending, literally smashing the glass into pieces. Such plates are used by doctors for correction deformed bones.

We should thank the engineers who helped the doctors and also wonderful doctors such as Professor Nikolai V. Zagorodniy who effectively use new technical developments.

In 2010, the Professor Nikolai V. Zagorodniy, Head of Trauma and Orthopedics Dpt. at People’s Friendship University of Russia, received a National award for the Best Doctors of Russia - «The Calling».

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