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New understanding of bones could lead to stronger materials, osteoporosis treatment

Researchers at Cornell University have discovered that bone does something better than most man-made materials: it bounces back after it breaks. In an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week Cornell scientists report that cancellous bone — the spongy foam-like type of bone found near joints and in the vertebrae that is involved in most osteoporosis-related fractures — displays unique material properties that allow it to recover shape after it breaks.

Bone
A microscopic slide showing a region of cancellous bone (blue). The brighter blue regions are more brittle where we found cracks more likely to grow.
Credit: Cornell University