A crack model of a bone cement interface

J. P. Clech, L. M. Keer, J. L. Lewis

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11 Scopus citations


This paper is concerned with the fracture mechanics of a bone-cement interface that includes a cohesive zone effect on the crack faces. This accounts for the experimentally observed strengthening mechanism due to the mechanical interlock between the crack faces. Edge crack models are developed where the cohesive zone is simulated by a continuous or a discrete distribution of linear or nonlinear springs. It is shown that the solution obtained by assuming a homogeneous material is fairly close to the exact solution for the bimaterial interface edge crack problem. On the basis of that approximation, the analysis is conducted for the problem of two interacting edge cracks, one at the interface, and the other one in the cement. The small crack that was observed to initiate in the cement, close to the bone-cement interface, does not affect much the mode I stress-intensity factor at the tip of the interface crack. However it may grow, leading to a catastrophic breakdown of the cement. The analysis and following discussion point out an interdependency between bone-cement interface strength and cement strength not previously appreciated. The suggested crack models provide a framework for quantifying the fracture mechanisms at the bone-cement interface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-243
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of biomechanical engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1984


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