Crack propagation in cortical bone is affected by the characteristics of the cement line: a parameter study using an XFEM interface damage model

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Bulk properties of cortical bone have been well characterized experimentally, and potent toughening mechanisms, e.g., crack deflections, have been identified at the microscale. However, it is currently difficult to experimentally measure local damage properties and isolate their effect on the tissue fracture resistance. Instead, computer models can be used to analyze the impact of local characteristics and structures, but material parameters required in computer models are not well established. The aim of this study was therefore to identify the material parameters that are important for crack propagation in cortical bone and to elucidate what parameters need to be better defined experimentally. A comprehensive material parameter study was performed using an XFEM interface damage model in 2D to simulate crack propagation around an osteon at the microscale. The importance of 14 factors (material parameters) on four different outcome criteria (maximum force, fracture energy, crack length and crack trajectory) was evaluated using ANOVA for three different osteon orientations. The results identified factors related to the cement line to influence the crack propagation, where the interface strength was important for the ability to deflect cracks. Crack deflection was also favored by low interface stiffness. However, the cement line properties are not well determined experimentally and need to be better characterized. The matrix and osteon stiffness had no or low impact on the crack pattern. Furthermore, the results illustrated how reduced matrix toughness promoted crack penetration of the cement line. This effect is highly relevant for the understanding of the influence of aging on crack propagation and fracture resistance in cortical bone.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Composite Science and Engineering


  • Crack deflection, Fracture toughness, Interface, Microstructure, Osteons
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1247-1261
JournalBiomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology
Issue number4
Early online date2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch

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Anna Gustafsson, Hanna Isaksson & Mathias Wallin

Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research, SSF


Project: Dissertation

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