The influence of porosity, osteon density, osteonal area, osteonal lamellar area, osteon size, and haversian canal size on the tension and shear fracture toughness, that is, the mode I and mode II strain energy release rate (GIc and GIIc), respectively, were investigated for the human femur and the tibia. The results suggest that porosity and osteon density were the best explanatory morphological parameters for GIc and GIIc. Both GIc and GIIc significantly decrease with increasing porosity. They also increase with increasing osteon density, the increase being significant for the femur only. Morphological parameters, altogether, can explain 49%–68% of the variation in fracture toughness. We concluded that, although there must be other factors such as biochemical components and microdamage, osteon morphology has an important influence on fracture resistance of the cortical bone.
Keywords: Bone mechanics; Fracture; Morphology; Human femur; Human tibia