Some years ago, glass scientists at the NY State College of Ceramics at Alfred University taught colleagues at the Dental School (SDM) of SUNY Buffalo (UB) how to store precious samples of implant materials in glass jars without having the eroding glass substances deposit all over them, working together through a National Science Foundation Cooperative Research Center (www.wings.buffalo.edu/iucb) that has brought multi-million $ products to market.
It turned out that this glass erosion phenomenon, also common in bottles, could be suppressed by the spontaneous reaction of red wine phenolics with the releasing glass ions to form a varnish that prevented further release (thus, as folks have said, “no wine before its time”) of taste-troubling alkalinity.
This was easy to recognize by the diverse faculty and students because the dentists used then, and now,a favorite material called “glass ionomer cement” to hold dental crowns in place for years. Similar chemistries! Now, UB and Alfred-based College of Ceramics have a formal joint program to train advanced students in what’s being called “dental ceramics”—actually chewing on glass. The revolution is afoot, with a first UB Biomaterials student from Saudi Arabia studying fracture mechanics now at Alfred, and a recent Alfred graduate working on his Master’s degree in Biomaterials at UB. Still proposed is a further collaboration with the food science community, in recognition of the common interests with SDM in “taste” improvements.
R.E. Baier, Professor, SUNY Buffalo, ASEV Member