The goal of this study was to quantify the micromechanics of the cement–bone interface under tensile fatigue loading using finite element analysis (FEA) and to understand the underlying mechanisms that play a role in the fatigue behavior of this interface. Laboratory cement–bone specimens were subjected to a tensile fatigue load, while local displacements and crack growth on the specimen's surface were monitored. FEA models were created from these specimens based upon micro-computed tomography data. To accurately model interfacial gaps at the interface between the bone and cement, a custom-written erosion algorithm was applied to the bone model. A fatigue load was simulated in the FEA models while monitoring the local displacements and crack propagation. The results showed the FEA models were able to capture the general experimental creep damage behavior and creep stages of the interface. Consistent with the experiments, the majority of the deformation took place at the contact interface. Additionally, the FEA models predicted fatigue crack patterns similar to experimental findings. Experimental surface cracks correlated moderately with FEA surface cracks (r2=0.43), but did not correlate with the simulated crack volume fraction (r2=0.06). Although there was no relationship between experimental surface cracks and experimental creep damage displacement (r2=0.07), there was a strong relationship between the FEA crack volume fraction and the FEA creep damage displacement (r2=0.76). This study shows the additional value of FEA of the cement–bone interface relative to experimental studies and can therefore be used to optimize its mechanical properties.
- Finite element
- Bone cement