Engineers have developed a material that mimics human cartilage – the body’s shock absorbing and lubrication system, and it could herald the development of a new generation of lightweight bearings.

Cartilage is a soft fibrous tissue found around joints which provides protection from the compressive loading generated by walking, running or lifting. It also provides a protective, lubricating layer allowing bones to pass over one another in a frictionless way. 

For years, scientists have been trying to create a synthetic material with the properties of cartilage. To date, they have had mixed results. 

But in a paper published in the journal Applied Polymer Materials, researchers at the University of Leeds and Imperial College London have announced that they have created a material that functions like cartilage. 

The research team believes a cartilage-like material would have a wide-range of uses across engineering.

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