BBC Future

The human bone made from glue

The glue used by schoolchildren and woodworkers is now being whipped up to make artificial bone for surgery, as Liz Bonnin discovers.

Recipe for a new wonder material: add some glue to a food mixer, whip it up, add to oven…and wait.

That’s the process for a new type of bone for repairing the body. Grafting artificial bone into people’s bodies can help them heal after injuries, but finding the right material can be tricky.

Dr Karen Hing from Queen Mary University was on a mission to find a substitute for bone that was light and strong. She realised that she could achieve a lightweight honeycomb-like structure by using a plastic derived from white PVA glue typically used in schools and for woodwork.

Liz Bonnin of BBC series Bang Goes The Theory visits Hing’s lab to see how she makes it, and discovers that whipping up some new bone is just like making a meringue.

If you would like to comment on this video or anything else you have seen on Future, head over to our Facebook or Google+ page, or message us on Twitter.