Interfaces in Composite Materials
Interfaces are among the most important yet least understood components of a composite system. Creating a biological interface between dissimilar tissues or between a biomaterial and surrounding environment is very challenging. It requires precise understanding of the sequence of events occurring at the interface at molecular and cellular level. Specific cell membrane receptor–protein interaction for example dictates specific cellular responses. Researchers are often required to design and deliver composite biomaterials that are capable of integration with biological tissues. This integration can yield functional tissue equivalents that could be useful as biomedical devices or drug/protein/cell delivery vehicles or tissue engineering scaffolds. In composites, the interface could be the surface, zone of compositional and structural variation, or zone of property gradients. This chapter therefore covers in-depth interfaces in composites, the methodology of interface examinations, the state-of-art of methods used to ‘talk’ to living organisms and interfaces of clinical significance. A step-by-step preparation of an example of smart composites proposed as bone adhesives/cements has then been described. Finally advances and challenges will be discussed at the end of this chapter.