Microtomography assessment of failure in acrylic bone cement
Micromechanical studies of fatigue and fracture processes in acrylic bone cement have been limited to surface examination techniques and indirect signal analysis. Observations may then be mechanically unrepresentative and/or affected by the presence of the free surface. To overcome such limiting factors the present study has utilised synchrotron X-ray microtomography for the observation of internal defects and failure processes that occurred within a commercial bone cement during loading. The high resolution and the edge detection capability (via phase contrast imaging) have enabled clear microstructural imaging of both strongly and weakly absorbing features, with an effective isotropic voxel size of 0.7 μm. Detailed assessment of fatigue damage processes in in vitro fatigue test specimens is also achieved. Present observations confirm a link with macroscopic failure and the presence of larger voids, at which crack initiation may be linked to the mechanical stress concentration set up by adjacent beads at pore surfaces. This study does not particularly support the suggested propensity for failure to occur via the inter-bead matrix; however crack deflections at matrix/bead interfaces and the incidence of crack arrest within beads do imply locally increased resistance to failure and potential improvements in global crack growth resistance via crack tip shielding.
Journal: Biomaterials - Volume 26, Issue 33, November 2005, Pages 6460–6466