Results From Demineralized Bone Creep Tests Suggest That Collagen Is Responsible for the Creep Behavior of Bone

[+] Author and Article Information
S. M. Bowman, W. C. Hayes

Orthopedic Biomechanics Laboratory, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Charles A. Dana Research Institute, Harvard Thorndike Laboratory, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215

L. J. Gibson

Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139

T. A. McMahon

Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02139

J Biomech Eng 121(2), 253-258 (Apr 01, 1999) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2835112 History: Received July 23, 1997; Revised August 20, 1998; Online January 23, 2008


Cortical and trabecular bone have similar creep behaviors that have been described by power-law relationships, with increases in temperature resulting in faster creep damage accumulation according to the usual Arrhenius (damage rate ~ exp (−Temp.−1 )) relationship. In an attempt to determine the phase (collagen or hydroxyapatite) responsible for these similar creep behaviors, we investigated the creep behavior of demineralized cortical bone, recognizing that the organic (i.e., demineralized) matrix of both cortical and trabecular bone is composed primarily of type I collagen. We prepared waisted specimens of bovine cortical bone and demineralized them according to an established protocol. Creep tests were conducted on 18 specimens at various normalized stresses σ/E0 and temperatures using a noninvasive optical technique to measure strain. Denaturation tests were also conducted to investigate the effect of temperature on the structure of demineralized bone. The creep behavior was characterized by the three classical stages of decreasing, constant, and increasing creep rates at all applied normalized stresses and temperatures. Strong (r2 > 0.79) and significant (p < 0.01) power-law relationships were found between the damage accumulation parameters (steady-state creep rate dε/dt and time-to-failure tf ) and the applied normalized stress σ/E0 . The creep behavior was also a function of temperature, following an Arrhenius creep relationship with an activation energy Q = 113 kJ/mole, within the range of activation energies for cortical (44 kJ/ mole) and trabecular (136 kJ/mole) bone. The denaturation behavior was characterized by axial shrinkage at temperatures greater than approximately 56°C. Lastly, an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) of our demineralized cortical bone regressions with those found in the literature for cortical and trabecular bone indicates that all three tissues creep with the same power-law exponents. These similar creep activation energies and exponents suggest that collagen is the phase responsible for creep in bone.

Copyright © 1999 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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