In the context of osteoporosis, evaluation of bone fracture risk and improved design of epiphyseal bone implants rely on accurate knowledge of the mechanical properties of trabecular bone. A multi-axial loading chamber was designed, built and applied to explore the compressive multi-axial yield and strength properties of human trabecular bone from different anatomical locations. A thorough experimental protocol was elaborated for extraction of cylindrical bone samples, assessment of their morphology by micro-computed tomography and application of different mechanical tests: torsion, uni-axial traction, uni-axial compression and multi-axial compression. A total of 128 bone samples were processed through the protocol and subjected to one of the mechanical tests up to yield and failure. The elastic data were analyzed using a tensorial fabric–elasticity relationship, while the yield and strength data were analyzed with fabric-based, conewise generalized Hill criteria. For each loading mode and more importantly for the combined results, strong relationships were demonstrated between volume fraction, fabric and the elastic, yield and strength properties of human trabecular bone. Despite the reviewed limitations, the obtained results will help improve the simulation of the damage behavior of human bones and bone-implant systems using the finite element method.
Keywords: Compression; Elasticity; Fabric; Mechanical testing; Multi-axial; Strength; Trabecular bone; Yield