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Cotton Candy Machine Inspires Machine to Create Artificial Organs

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cotton candy machine
A cotton candy machine is the inspiration for a new device that could print replacement human organs

A common machine is behind a new process that could potentially lead to the creation of replacement artificial livers, kidneys and other essential human organs. You’ve seen it before at fairs, festivals and even birthday parties: It’s the cotton candy machine.

When scientist Leon Bellan, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Vanderbilt University, got the inspiration as a graduate student. He was studying how nanoscale fibers were created using electrospinning.  The technique uses a very high voltage to produce a fiber-forming jet that deposits nanofibers in a mat on a surface.

“When describing this mat, people often use the analogy of silly string, cheese whiz, or cotton candy,” he told Bioscience Technology.

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