The risk of infection of investigators working on the biomechanics of human bone from a variety of modern pathogens including the human immunodeficiency virus or the hepatitis B virus has increased recently. New safety procedures are needed to reduce that risk. The procedure we follow in our aboratory employs brief (< 3 h) fixation in formaldehyde, and we report here the effects it has on some mechanical properties of bovine bone. Results in quasistatic loading tests were almost unaffected by our fixation protocol, but a significant decrease in impact strength was found. These results indicate that there may be some interaction between fixation and strain rate dependent effects and, therefore, some caution is needed when using common biomechanical measurement methods on fixed bone material.
Keywords: Bone; mechanical properties; formaldehyde fixation