High-energy synchrotron X-ray scattering (>60 keV) allows noninvasive quantification of internal strains within bone. In this proof-of-principle study, wide angle X-ray scattering maps internal strain vs position in cortical bone (murine tibia, bovine femur) under compression, specifically using the response of the mineral phase of carbonated hydroxyapatite. The technique relies on the response of the carbonated hydroxyapatite unit cells and their Debye cones (from nanocrystals correctly oriented for diffraction) to applied stress. Unstressed, the Debye cones produce circular rings on the two-dimensional X-ray detector while applied stress deforms the rings to ellipses centered on the transmitted beam. Ring ellipticity is then converted to strain via standard methods. Strain is measured repeatedly, at each specimen location for each applied stress. Experimental strains from wide angle X-ray scattering and an attached strain gage show bending of the rat tibia and agree qualitatively with results of a simplified finite element model. At their greatest, the apatite-derived strains approach 2500 με on one side of the tibia and are near zero on the other. Strains maps around a hole in the femoral bone block demonstrate the effect of the stress concentrator as loading increased and agree qualitatively with the finite element model. Experimentally, residual strains of approximately 2000 με are present initially, and strain rises to approximately 4500 με at 95 MPa applied stress (about 1000 με above the strain in the surrounding material). The experimental data suggest uneven loading which is reproduced qualitatively with finite element modeling.
X-ray diffraction; Wide angle X-ray scattering (WAXS); Internal stress measurement; Bone; Finite element analysis