The effects of force application on the compressive properties of femoral spongious bone

  • F. Metzner
    Corresponding author at: ZESBO–Center for Research on Muscoskeletal Systems, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Traumatology and Plastic Surgery, University of Leipzig Medical Center, Semmelweisstr. 14, 01403 Leipzig, Germany.
    ZESBO – Centre for Research on Musculoskeletal Systems, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany

    Department of Orthopedic, Trauma and Plastic Surgery, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
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  • B. Fischer
    ZESBO – Centre for Research on Musculoskeletal Systems, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany

    Department of Orthopedic, Trauma and Plastic Surgery, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
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  • C.-E. Heyde
    ZESBO – Centre for Research on Musculoskeletal Systems, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany

    Department of Orthopedic, Trauma and Plastic Surgery, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
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  • S. Schleifenbaum
    ZESBO – Centre for Research on Musculoskeletal Systems, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany

    Department of Orthopedic, Trauma and Plastic Surgery, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany

    Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology, Dresden, Germany
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      • Compressive testing of human femoral condylar bone.
      • Verification of a simplified setup preventing end-artefacts during compression test.
      • Plateau stress is most sensitive to force initiation method.



      End artefacts play a major role in uniaxial compression tests with cancellous bone specimens. They lead to misinterpretation of mechanical parameters of bones due to uncontrolled introduction of bending moments into the free ends of trabeculae. This work aims to simplify current methods preventing end-artefacts and furthermore to investigate the influence of end artefacts on plateau stress.


      176 cylindrical cancellous bone specimens were taken from human femoral condyles and tested in uniaxial compression. The specimens were divided into 2 groups (direct, end-cap) and compressive modulus, maximum stress, plateau stress, energy absorbtion as well as apparent density were evaluated. Density values are from separate specimens which are immediately adjacent to the mechanical specimen.


      All mechanical parameters were significantly higher in the end-cap specimens than in the direct ones by about 30 – 40 %, thus reaching similar differences as the previous studies. Greatest differences between groups were determined for compressive modulus (45 %) and plateau stress (35 %). Energy absorbtion can be explained with great accuracy by plateau stress (P < 0.001; R2 = 0.95). Among all parameters plateau stress can be best explained by apparent density using an exponential function (P < 0.001; R2 = 0.38).


      The end-cap method used here to prevent end artefacts showed variations consistent with the literature when compared to the direct method. Additionally it was shown that the way in which the force is applied to the specimen has a major influence on the failure progression behavior, which was characterized using the plateau stress.


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