The objective of this study was to examine the dependence of the elastic properties of cortical bone as a transversely isotropic material on its porosity. The longitudinal Young's modulus, transverse Young's modulus, longitudinal shear modulus, transverse shear modulus, and longitudinal Poisson's ratio of cortical bone were determined from eighteen groups of longitudinal and transverse specimens using tensile and torsional tests on a servo-hydraulic material testing system. These cylindrical waisted specimens of cortical bone were harvested from the middle diaphysis of three pairs of human femora. The porosity of these specimens was assessed by means of histology. Our study demonstrated that the longitudinal Young's and shear moduli of human femoral cortical bone were significantly (p<0.01) negatively correlated with the porosity of cortical bone. Conversely, the elastic properties in the transverse direction did not have statistically significant correlations with the porosity of cortical bone. As a result, the transverse elastic properties of cortical bone were less sensitive to changes in porosity than those in the longitudinal direction. Additionally, the anisotropic ratios of cortical bone elasticity were found to be significantly (p<0.01) negatively correlated with its porosity, indicating that cortical bone tended to become more isotropic when its porosity increased. These results may help a number of researchers develop more accurate micromechanics models of cortical bone.
Keywords: Cortical bone; Porosity; Transversely isotropic; Elastic moduli; Micromechanics