Compression tests of human and bovine trabecular bone specimens with and without marrow in situ were conducted at strain rates of from 0.001 to 10.0 per second. A porous platen above the specimens allowed the escape of marrow during testing. The presence of marrow increased the strength, modulus, and energy absorption of specimens only at the highest strain rate of 10.0 per second. This enhancement of material properties at the highest strain rate was due primarily to the restricted viscous flow of marrow through the platen rather than the flow through the pores of the trabecular bone. In specimens without marrow, the strength was proportional to the square of the apparent density and the modulus was proportional to the cube of the apparent density.
Both strength and modulus were approximately proportional to the strain rate raised to the 0.06 power. These power relationships, which were shown to hold for all bone in the skeleton, allow meaningful predictions of bone tissue strength and stiffness based on in vivo density measurements.