Composition-structure-property relations of bone provide fundamental understanding of bone quality. The objective of this paper was to investigate age dependent changes in the composition, structure and mechanical properties of porcine femoral cortical bone at mid-diaphysis region from six age groups (1, 3.5, 6, 12, 30, 48 months). This study was motivated by the fact that limited data is available in the literature on young porcine cortical bone. Nanoindentation technique with Berkovich fluid cell tip was employed to measure the elastic modulus and hardness. Individual lamellae were indented in the longitudinal direction of bone in different microstructural components (osteonal, interstitial and plexiform bone). A grid of indentations was also made on one bone sample to obtain spatial variations in the elastic modulus and hardness. Ash and water content tests were performed to measure water, organic and mineral contents of bone as a function of age. Finally, high resolution micro-computed tomography was used to measure porosity and visualize three-dimensional void structures. We found that the elastic modulus and hardness of bone increased with age but at different rates in each microstructural component. The mineral content increased correspondingly with age while the porosity decreased. The obtained structure, composition, and mechanical properties data give new insights on the age related changes in young cortical bone and can serve as inputs for and validation of multiscale models of bone.
Keywords: Cortical bone; nanoindentation; mineral content; porosity; micro-computed tomography