During fatigue tests of cortical bone specimens, at the unload portion of the cycle (zero stress) non-zero strains occur and progressively accumulate as the test progresses. This non-zero strain is hypothesised to be mostly, if not entirely, describable as creep. This work examines the rate of accumulation of this strain and quantifies its stress dependency. A published relationship determined from creep tests of cortical bone (Journal of Biomechanics 21 (1988) 623) is combined with knowledge of the stress history during fatigue testing to derive an expression for the amount of creep strain in fatigue tests. Fatigue tests on 31 bone samples from four individuals showed strong correlations between creep strain rate and both stress and “normalised stress” (σ/E) during tensile fatigue testing (0–T). Combined results were good (r²=0.78) and differences between the various individuals, in particular, vanished when effects were examined against normalised stress values. Constants of the regression showed equivalence to constants derived in creep tests. The universality of the results, with respect to four different individuals of both sexes, shows great promise for use in computational models of fatigue in bone structures.
Human cortical bone; Creep; Fatigue; Damage accumulation