Bioceramics to implant in the body? It is not science fiction and it is already developing

An example of this new element generated by the Ceramic Institute of the University of Santiago (USC) It is kept in the Materioteca, a database and physical center based in Ferrol where more than 100 new materials are stored not only for health, but also metals or ceramics for construction, new polymers or fibers for fabrics.

The community promotes the Materioteca, a base of recent subjects | It already exceeds a hundred designed for textiles, construction and other uses such as implants in the body


The component and chip crisis has put the magnifying glass on this need. Without the protective blanket of steel, wood, cloth, and other essentials, the economy trembles, raising unanswered questions.

From the Centro de Innovación e Servizos da Tecnoloxía eo Deseño (CIS, in Ferrol), where the Materioteca is located, its manager, María José Mariño, underlines that “Galicia must enhance the economic value of our materials. Galician companies have to innovate in many areas and one of them is materials and design is an influencing factor. What must be promoted is collaboration ”.

With the latter, it seeks to encourage the public administrative sector, companies and technology or research centers to join forces to create new elements that are inserted in a Materioteca that is the only one of its characteristics in the Spanish State: it is 100% public.

“In Spain, there are the Material ConneXion and Mater FAD. The latter is based in Barcelona and the former in Bilbao. They are private. They have international materials that are already on the market. However, our material library –which was launched in 2018– has the peculiarity of being created by a public institution, the Xunta de Galicia through the Galician Innovation Agency ”, Mariño details.

Its functions not only include registering the patents of the elements it holds, but also trying to get these new materials to the market and commercialize them.

One of the collaborating centers that is nurturing the Materioteca of 'unpublished' materials is the Institute of Ceramics of the USC, in the process of transformation into the Institute of Materials. Your acting 'director', Professor Emeritus Francisco Guitián, explains that the Materioteca “some door” has opened them.

"Last year, although it was very bad due to the pandemic, two French companies asked about two of our materials - one, slate fiber - and they were inquiries through the Materioteca", since it presents its online catalog.

The aforementioned slate fiber is an example of slate waste recovery work that is being assigned a new use as a bioceramic for implants in the human body, which is achieved with techniques such as 3D printing. At this point, biomaterials can be used to imprint even artificial cells or organs on them.

For María José Mariño, the Materioteca must "generate meeting spaces in which they can meet with universities, knowledge centers to make developments and R + D + i projects to generate materials that adapt to processes".

One of their spaces is the workshops they offer –on November 25 there will be one on materials of plant origin– but also the 1st Contest of Innovative Materials to which 80 initiatives that are already part of the patent base were presented. Of these, four were the winners: D-Leite, an organic merino wool and milk protein fiber fabric from Inés RIR & Co Artisan Textile Design; a coating of thermal and electrical conductor of the Technological Center of Automotive of Galicia for furniture and textiles that allows to save energy; the vegetable oil Peroxibiokkey (from KeyBiological) which is antiseptic, healing and antioxidant, as a base for cosmetics, food supplements and medicines; as well as an alternative bio-pavement (green asphalt), a mixture of bituminous and nanocellulose.

"The problem in Spain is that good science is done but nothing is applied here"

Francisco Guitián


The roots of the USC Institute of Ceramics –founded 25 years ago– treasure in their genealogy the genius of Isaac Diaz Pardo which promoted the museum of materials.

Based in Compostela and made up of the Faculties of Physics, Pharmacy and Chemistry plus industrial support, this center is directed by Francisco Guitián whose experience of decades makes him assert: "The problem in Spain is that good science is done but nothing is applied here."

Hence, he likes the idea of ​​the Materioteca because it is not reduced to a publication with new materials but rather these can be consulted online or can even be touched, in addition to favoring contact with companies or technology centers interested in the subjects.

Guitián regrets that cooperation agreements "take time to crystallize." For example, it can take up to 12 years since the work is carried out in the laboratory, the patent is obtained and the company becomes interested.

He knows what he's talking about. The Ceramic Institute has 42 national and international patents. "Half were used by the industry or are being used," he clarifies.

With the idea always in the market, the Institute houses a small factory of 800 square meters to manufacture new materials. "It is a different way of working," he concludes.


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