The fracture toughness at crack initiation were determined for bovine cortical bone under tension (mode I), shear (mode II), and tear (mode III). A total of 140 compact tension specimens, compact shear specimens and triple pantleg (TP) specimens were used to measure fracture toughness under tension, shear, and tear, respectively. Multiple-sample compliance method was utilized to measure the critical strain energy release rate (Gc) at the a/W=0.55 (crack length, a, to specimen width, W, ratio). The critical stress intensity factor (Kc) was also calculates from the critical loading (Pc) of the specimens at the a/W=0.55. The effect of the anisotropy of bone on its resistance to crack initiation under shear and tear loading was investigated as well. Fracture toughness of bone with precrack orientations parallel (designed as longitudinal fracture) and vertical (designed as transverse fracture) to the longitudinal axis of bone were compared. In longitudinal fracture, the critical strain energy release rate (Gc) of cortical bone under tension, shear, and tear was 644±102, 2430±836, and 1723±486 N/m, respectively. In transverse fracture, the critical strain energy release rate (Gc) of cortical bone under tension, shear, and tear was 1374±183, 4710±1284, and 4016±948 N/m, respectively. An unpaired t-test analysis demonstrated that the crack initiation fracture toughness of bone under shear and tear loading were significantly greater than that under tensile loading in both longitudinal and transverse fracture (P<0.0001 for all). Our results also suggest that cortical bone has been “designed” to prevent crack initiation in transverse fracture under tension, shear, and tear.
Fracture toughness; Cortical bone; Tension; Shear; Tear