True clinical fracture of bones in bovine, race horses or humans occur predominantly during impact loading (e.g. car accidents, falls or physical violence). Although static fracture tests provide an estimate of fracture toughness or R-curve behavior in bones, the static toughness values may be ill suited for predicting failure under dynamic loading conditions due to the visco-elastic response of bone (i.e. strain rate dependent properties). Despite decades of the study on deformation rate dependency of bone properties such as compression and fracture toughness, high-quality dynamic fracture data remain limited. Preliminary tests (compression and fracture toughness) have been conducted on dry and wet bovine bone under both static and dynamic loading conditions. While compression tests have been conducted with loading direction parallel and perpendicular to the bone axis (longitudinal and transverse, respectively), fracture tests were performed only in the transverse direction. The strain rate in compression tests varied between 10− 3 and 103 s− 1, and the stress intensity rate varied between ∼10− 3 and 105 MPa√m/s. While low strain rate tests were conducted on conventional mechanical testing machines, high strain rate experiments were conducted on a split-Hopkinson bar under compression and a novel three-point bend configuration. The fracture morphology and the extent of damage of bone in each case were characterized using SEM, and an attempt is made to relate these to the rate dependent fracture toughness of the bone. It is believed that such understanding is crucial for mechanistic interpretation of bone fracture phenomenon and eventually for predicting bone failure reliably.
Keywords: Bovine bone; Strain rate effects; Compression; Fracture; Split-Hopkinson bar