The Michigan Engineer News Center

Synthetic Tooth Enamel

A photograph of a researcher creating a synthetic material inspired by tooth enamel.

Michigan Engineering researchers have developed a rigid and durable new material inspired by tooth enamel. Unavoidable vibrations, such as those on an airplane, cause rigid structures to age and crack, but most materials that effectively absorb vibration are soft, so they don’t make good structural components such as beams, chassis or motherboards. Researchers chose to model their new material after enamel because it is strong and rigid, but also effectively absorbs vibrations. The research for this new material is presented in the paper, “Abiotic tooth enamel,” in the journal Nature. Nicholas Kotov is the Joseph B and Florence V Cejka Professor of Engineering in the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Michigan College of Engineering. Bongjun Yeom was a postdoctoral researcher in chemical engineering at U-M at the time of this study, and co-authored the paper. Photo: Evan Dougherty, Michigan Engineering, Communications & Marketing