Rizhi Wang

  Tier 2 CRC in Biomaterials

Rizhi Wang

Materials Engineering



Rizhi Wang

Tier 2 CRC in Biomaterials

Biomaterials is a newly developed field that combines two technologies key to the prosperity of the 21st century: Biotechnology and Materials Science and Engineering. A biomaterial is a material used either to replace and repair living tissues, or to help them function properly. Typical examples are those used in artificial hip joints, artificial heart, drug delivery systems, dental implants and various biosensors. My research is focused on the surface and interfacial issues common to most biomaterials systems. One project is aimed at developing novel surface designs and processing techniques on metal implants. Bioactive ceramics, proteins, drugs and their composites with specific patterns are being processed on implant surfaces. The goal is to regulate cell response and tissue organization and therefore to improve implant/tissue integrity. Research on the wear mechanisms at artificial knee and hip joints and wear resistant coatings (e.g. diamond-like carbon) is underway to better understand the surface and interfacial performance of biomaterials under biological environment.

Primary Collaborators: Don Brunette (Dentistry/UBC), Tom Troczynski (UBC),Göran Fernlund (UBC), Kwang-Ryeol Lee, (KIST, Korea)

Biomechanics deals with the structure and function of biological systems using the methods of mechanics and materials. One important direction is the structure and mechanical functions of bone and teeth. Each year, millions of peoples suffer from bone loss and fracture, or dental problems due to aging, diseases and accidents. In order to prevent bone fracture, develop new drugs against diseases, or even develop new orthopedic and dental materials, it is essential to explore bone and teeth as material subjects down to nanometer scale.

Research activities are thus built around the deformation and fracture mechanisms of bone family materials (i.e. bone and teeth). Experiments are designed to reveal the nanocomposite nature of bone and its totally different mechanical behaviour in tension vs. compression. The goal is to generate a clear picture of how the structures, starting from nanometer scale, in such a natural biological material as bone are adapted to their complicated and dynamic mechanical functions. This study will help us to understand the materials mechanism of some clinical bone fractures such as hip fracture.

Primary Collaborators: Anthony Evans (UCSB), Thomas Oxland (VGH/UBC)

(also called bio-inspired materials design and processing) studies the structure and formation processes of biologically formed materials (e.g. seashells, silk, teeth) and applies the mechanisms to the design and processing of novel materials. In the case of interfaces, it has been known that some biological hard tissues are often composed of multi layers with distinct and strong interfaces.

Typical examples are interfaces between enamel and dentin layers in human teeth. How could those biological interfaces work effectively to fulfill the heavy mechanical functions? The answers could provide meaningful solutions to the interfacial problems in orthopedic implants explained above. Current research focuses on the morphology, ultrastructure and mechanics of those biological interfaces, based on which novel surface and interface design can be developed.

Areas of Research

Biomaterials, biomechanics, biomimetics