Quantitative crack surface morphology of bone cements in relation to propagation rate

Paolo Erani, Luca Cristofolini, Massimilliano Baleani, Maria Chiara Bignozzi, Marco Cotifava, Nabila Ihaddadene, Federico Tomei, Marco Viceconti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Morphology of the crack surface of surgical bone cements has seldom been studied in the past despite the clinical relevance of cement failure. Previous studies on a specific cement type suggest that crack morphology depends on crack propagation rate. The objectives of this work were: (i) to develop a quantitative indicator for describing crack morphology; and (ii) to assess if dependency on crack-propagation rate is affected by cement formulation. Known crack surfaces were obtained from specimens under controlled loading conditions. Crack surface roughness was measured for different crack-propagation rates, and compared against the amount of cleaved pre-cured beads (measured with a semi-automated procedure based on micrographs). Such indicators were extremely robust, operator-independent, highly correlated, and sensitive to the type of fracture. Moreover, it was found that crack surface morphology heavily depends upon cement composition. Thus, crack surface roughness is proposed as a method for quantitatively identifying crack morphology, and finally classifying fracture type.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)783-795
Number of pages13
JournalFatigue and Fracture of Engineering Materials and Structures
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007


  • Acrylic surgical bone cement
  • Crack growth path
  • Crack growth rate
  • Fatigue crack propagation
  • Fracture surface roughness
  • Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)


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