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Summary - Mechanical prop of bone

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  • Summary - Mechanical prop of bone

    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