Experimental Micromechanics of the Cement-Bone Interface

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Despite the widespread use of cement as a means of fixation of implants to bone, surprisingly little is known about the micromechanical behavior in terms of the local interfacial motion. In this work, we utilized digital image correlation techniques to quantify the micromechanics of the cement-bone interface of laboratory-prepared cemented total hip replacements subjected to nondestructive, quasistatic tensile and compressive loading. Upon loading, the majority of the displacement response localized at the contact interface region between cement and bone. The contact interface was more compliant (p = 0.0001) in tension (0.0067 ± 0.0039 mm/MPa) than compression (0.0051 ± 0.0031 mm/MPa), and substantial hysteresis occurred due to sliding contact between cement and bone. The tensile strength of the cement-bone interface was inversely proportional to the compliance of the interface and proportional to the cement/bone contact area. When loaded beyond the ultimate strength, the strain localization process continued at the contact interface between cement and bone with microcracking (damage) to both. More overall damage occurred to the cement than to the bone. The opening and closing at the contact interface from loading could serve as a conduit for sub micron size particles. In addition, the cement mantle is not mechanically supported by surrounding bone as optimally as is commonly assumed. Both effects may influence the longevity of the reconstruction and could be considered in preclinical tests. © 2008 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 26:872-879, 2008

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