Physical characteristics affecting the tensile failure properties of compact bone

J Biomech. 1990;23(8):837-44. doi: 10.1016/0021-9290(90)90030-7.


Compact bone specimens from a wide variety of reptiles, birds, and mammals were tested in tension, and their failure properties related to mineral volume fraction, porosity and histological orientation. The principal findings were that the ultimate strain and the work under the stress-strain curve declined sharply with mineralisation, as did the stress and strain appearing after the specimen had yielded. Ultimate tensile strength was not simply related to any combination of the possible explanatory variables, but some relatively poorly mineralised bones, notably antlers, had high stresses at failure. These high strengths were allowed by a great increase in stress after the bones had yielded at quite low stresses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Birds
  • Bone and Bones / physiology*
  • Elasticity
  • Mammals
  • Reptiles
  • Species Specificity
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Tensile Strength / physiology