Bone tissue functions in varied mechanical systems of the body under static and dynamic conditions. Therefore, it is essential to understand the mechanical responses of bone at varied loading rates, especially those at fast loading rates. This study has investigated the effect of loading rate on the compressive mechanical properties of bovine cortical bone. Bone specimens of 3.85mm in diameter and 7.7mm in length were compressed longitudinally with the loading rates of 2 to 2000mm/s (corresponding strain rates of 0.26 to 260 s-1). As a result, bovine cortical bone showed high linear elasticity when the loading rate was slow, and exhibited three definite regions of linear elasticity, plastic deformation, and densification at faster loading rates. The elastic modulus showed no dependency on the loading rate. Compressive strength, strain at fracture, and toughness increased as the loading rate increased under the condition that the loading rates were slower than each critical loading rate of 1000, 100, and 1500mm/s, respectively. However, all showed no significant changes when the loading rates were faster than the corresponding critical loading rates. In conclusion, as the loading rate increased, changes in the compressive mechanical parameters were different depending on the parameter and the loading rate range. Compressive mechanical behaviour of bovine cortical bone showed a brittle nature under high strain rates (strain rates<13 s-1). These findings should be reflected in the biomimetic simulation of biomaterials for bone tissue repair and engineering.
Keywords: bovine bone; loading rate; elastic modulus; compressive strength; toughness