Plastic behaviour of microstructural constituents of cortical bone tissue: a nanoindentation study

A mechanical behaviour of bone tissues is defined by mechanical properties of its microstructural constituents. Also, those properties are important as an input for finiteelement models of cortical bone to simulate its deformation and fracture behaviours at the microstructural level. The aim of this study was to investigate a post-yield behaviour of osteonal cortical bone’s microstructural constituents at different loading rates, maximum load levels and dwell times; nanoindentation with a spherical-diamond-tip indenter was employed to determine it. The nanoindentation results revealed significant difference in stiffness values of cortical bone’s microstructural features − interstitial matrix and osteons. Similarly, interstitial matrix exhibited a stiffer post-yield behaviour compared to that of osteons that reflects the relationship between the post-yield behaviour and collagen maturity. In addition, both osteons and interstitial matrix demonstrated a time-dependent behaviour. However, in order to assess elastic-plastic behaviour accurately, an effect of viscosity on nanoindentation results was reduced by using a time-delay method.