The IBEC and the PCB are to participate in setting up the first materials center in Spain
On 27th November 2008, the fine arts and design promoter Foment de les Arts i del Disseny (FAD) inaugurated "Mater. Materials center," which is the first cross-sector center for materials in Spain. Occupying a surface area of 200 m2, , the centre will offer information and consulting services to professionals; courses and lectures; as well as a library with 800 new materials. The center is the result of the Mater project, in which the Catalan Institute of Bioengineering (IBEC), located in the Barcelona Science Park (PCB), has played a very active role. "Mater. Materials center," is located on the 3rd floor of the FAD (whose address is: Plaça dels Àngels, 5-6, Barcelona) and it forms part of an international network of materials centers, with offices in Paris, Antwerp and Prague.
Mater is a project that has been developed by the FAD for the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade, and which grew out of the increasing importance of materials in the development of our current society. The project has taken 2 years to complete and nearly 4,000 Spanish companies have been contacted as part of it, together with experts from the Spanish Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI), the Spanish Scientific Research Council (CSIC), the Industrial Development Department of the Spanish Ministry of Industry and Trade, and the Cotec Foundation, together with different universities and technology centers.
The IBEC has contributed projects and materials to the initiative, and has collaborated in the writing of the book “Mater. Thesis,” a collection of articles written by prestigious specialists from each of the economic sectors and in all the groups of materials represented in Mater. Furthermore, the director of the center, Josep A. Planell, is a member of the Group of Mater Experts, who offer their knowledge, assess projects and analyze the economic sectors and groups of materials.
The Mater project started off with the educational exhibition Mater in progress. Nous materials, nova indústria, which ran from 14th February to 26th April 2008 and received more than 20,000 visitors. The PCB specifically took part in a project which it shared with the IBEC and the PCB Nanotechnology Platform called: “Linking materials to life, via nanotechnology,” which showed visitors nanometer-scale structured artificial materials that imitate the physico-chemical properties of the cellular environment and have applications in biomedicine.
The Biomaterials, Biomechanics and Tissue Engineering Group from the Technical University of Catalonia, which is associated with the IBEC, participated in the project “Mimetic dental implants with calcium phosphate.” This project looks at improvements in traditional dental implants that reduce the waiting time for their use. These implants have a calcium phosphate surface (whose properties are similar to those of bone) which accelerates bone formation and allows the implant to attach itself more quickly, so the patient can then chew normally again after only a very short period of time.