Dear Biomch-l subscribers,

Here is the original inquiry I sent, followed by a summary of responses:

Can anyone offer sources of information regarding human and nonhuman
mammal bone mechanical properties (e.g., Young's modulus, bending strength,
etc.)? I am specifically interested in mechanical properties of ape and
monkey phalanges, but any suggestions will be extremely helpful.

I will happily post a list of responses.


Brian G. Richmond, graduate student
Doctoral Program in Anthropological Sciences
State University of New York at Stony Brook

There are many, many papers on the mechanical properties of mammalian
bone. I have many of them as a result of my Ph.D. thesis work.
I would be happy to recommend some summary papers to get you started, or
I could send you the Bibliography from my thesis by snail mail or fax.

Most of the work has been done in bovine (cow) or human bone, although
I also have papers dealing with sheep, rat, rabbit, and dog bone. I
do not recall seeing any info on apes or monkeys. Very few studies have
tested phalanges, although I do have at least one on metatarsals
(in rats) in my possession. The metatarsals have been tested mostly
whole, in torsion.

I know this message doesn't have a lot of help for you in itself, but
let me know what kind of info you would like.


Amy Courtney
Dept. of Biomedical Engineering
The Cleveland Clinic Foundation

Try the following:

Bone Mechanics

Stephen C. Cowin Editor

CRC Press 1989

isbn 0-8493-4562-6


suggest you contact Dr. Ken McLeod in the Orthopedic Dept. at your place.
Joe Spadaro

Hi Brian!


- Sundaram, S. H. and Feng, C. C. (1977) Finite element analysis of the human
thorax. J. Biomechanics 10, 505-516.

- Huiskes, R. (1982) On the modelling of long bones in structural analyses. J.
Biomechanics 15, 65-69.

- Saha, S. (1982) The dynamic strength of bone and its relevance. In
Osteoarthromechanics (Edited by Ghista, D. N.), pp. 1-39. Hemisphere Publishing
Corporation, Washington.

- Andriacchi, T. P. and Hampton, S. J. (1982) Finite-element applications in
joint-replacement design and analysis. In Osteoarthromechanics (Edited by
Ghista, D. N.), pp. 193-?. Hemisphere Publishing Corporation, Washington.

Claudia (

In response to your inquiry about the properties of bone, I suggest the
following book edited and partially written by Stephen C. Cowin:

" Bone Mechanics", CRC Press, 1989.

It is an excellent bone on the mechanical properties of bone.

Good luck to your research.

Dajun Zhang

Dear Brian, this is almost the same question proposed by
on biomech-L this week, and this is the same letter I just sent to him.

I am working on the methods for the in-vivo measurement of human bone
density. These are some articles and books relating mechanical properties
of human and animal cortical bone with mineral density, hydration state
and structure.

Evans FG. Mechanical properties of bone. Springfield - Illinois - USA:
Charles C. Thomas - Publisher, 1973:

Horsman A., Currey J.D.: Estimation of mechanical properties of the distal
radius from bone mineral content and cortical width. Clin.Orthop., 1983,

Snyder S.M., Schneider E.: Estimation of mechanical properties of cortical
bone by computed tomography. J.Orthp.Res., 1991, 9:422-431.

Broz J.J., simske S.J., Greenberg A.R., Luttges M.W.: Effects of
rehydratation state on the flexural properties of whole mouse long bones.
J.Biomech.Eng., 1993, 115:447.

Finlay J.B., Hardie W.R.: Anisotropic contraction of cortical bone caused
by dehydratation of samples of the bovine femur in vitro . J.Eng.Med.,
1994, 208:27-32.

Sasaki N., Yoshikawa M.: Stress relaxation in native and EDTA-treated bone
as function of mineral content . J.Biomechanics, 1993, 26:77-83.

Koheles S.S., Vanderby Jr R., Ashman R.B., Manley P.A., Markel M.D., Heiner
J.P.: Ultrasonically determined elasticity and cortical density in canine
femora after total hip arthroplasty. J.Biomechanics, 1993, 27:137-144.

In the Proceedings of the Second World Congress of Biomechanics, July 10-15
1994, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, you can find many authors working on this
argument. See for examples:

Schaffer M.B., Fyhrie, D.P., Radin E.L, Bone microdamage and microstructure
(research on human cortical bone)

Tanabe, Y., Tanner K.E., Bonfield W., Dynamic mechanical analysis of bovine
cortical bone

Have a good research.

Fabio Baruffaldi
Laboratorio di Tecnologia dei Materiali tel. 0039-51-6366864
Istituti Ortopedici Rizzoli
via di barbiano 1/10, 40136 - Bologna, Italy fax. 0039-51-6366863


Li K-C, Zernicke RF, Barnard RJ, LI AF-Y (1990) Effects of a high fat-
sucrose diet on cortical bone morphology and biomechanics.
Calcified Tissue International 47:308-313

They biomechanically tested the tibia and the second metatarsus of rats.

For my own tests, I am thinking of torsion tests rather than three-point
bend tests, but I haven't decided for sure. The torsion test has been often
used for testing whole bones from dogs, rats, etc, and I think the geometry
of the metatarsal bones lends itself well to this kind of test and analysis.
The methods are published and you could locate specific studies by a Medline
search, I think. But I haven't decided for sure.

I wouldn't dismiss looking at data from long bones (femur, tibia, humerus)
for information that would be pertinent to your work. At least in humans,
the structure of the metatarsal bones is not unlike that of the long bones.

-Amy Courtney

Thank you all for your very helpful responses!


Brian Richmond
Doctoral Program in Anthropological Sciences
Dept. Anthropology, State U. of New York
Stony Brook, NY 11794-4364
(516)444-3122 FAX (516) 444-3947