Simulation tool for bone and bone biomaterials,
based on enhanced CT-data exploitation
The use of computer tomography (CT) imaging is steadily increasing in the ever growing bone implant/surgery and tissue engineering market, although commercial exploitation of CT data for structural design purposes is still based on trial-and-error approaches. This is because X-ray attenuation information is reduced to geometric grey level evaluation. However, on the academic stage, a transnational team of highly esteemed applied physicists, material scientists, engineering mechanicians, and mathematicians has recently pioneered concepts for extraction of chemical information from CT, and of its conversion, via micromechanics laws, into object –specific, inhomogeneous and anisotropic material properties. We here propose R+D activities to substantiate this cutting-edge knowledge into unparalleled, highly reliable simulation tools for structural design purposes. Most of the work load related to these R+D activities will be carried by the RTD partners, which will (upon reimbursement) transfer the simulation tools to four highly innovative SME partners covering all aspects of the bone biomaterial/surgery preplanning market, being leaders in the fields of biomaterial production, of micro and nano-CT scanner development, of image-to-geometry/mesh conversion, and of Finite Element simulation technologies. As a result of the R+D activities being carried out in close cooperation with SMEs, the latter will be, upon completion of the project, the owners of ready-to-use software packages tailored to SME-specific needs, with rapid time-to-market characteristics. The uniqueness of these products will tremendously improve the strategic market positions of the SMEs, which are expected to generate annual revenues being already multiples of the singular EC contribution – when just considering the submarkets of preplanning dental/orthopaedic surgery and bone tissue engineering research. This will trigger SME growth rates exceeding 30%, both in turnover and employment.