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J Mech Behav Biomed Mater. 2010 Oct;3(7):504-11. doi: 10.1016/j.jmbbm.2010.05.007. Epub 2010 Jun 8.

Improved fatigue life of acrylic bone cements reinforced with zirconia fibers.

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  • 1Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, Bioengineering Graduate Program, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, United States.


Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) bone cements have a long and successful history of use for implant fixation, but suffer from a relatively low fracture and fatigue resistance which can result in failure of the cement and the implant. Fiber or particulate reinforcement has been used to improve mechanical properties, but typically at the expense of the pre-cured cement viscosity, which is critical for successful integration with peri-implant bone tissue. Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate the effects of zirconia fiber reinforcement on the fatigue life of acrylic bone cements while maintaining a relatively low pre-cured cement viscosity. Sintered straight or variable diameter fibers (VDFs) were added to a PMMA cement and tested in fully reversed uniaxial fatigue until failure. The mean fatigue life of cements reinforced with 15 and 20 vol% straight zirconia fibers was significantly increased by approximately 40-fold, on average, compared to a commercial benchmark (Osteobond) and cements reinforced with 0-10 vol% straight zirconia fibers. The mean fatigue life of a cement reinforced with 10 vol% VDFs was an order of magnitude greater than the same cement reinforced with 10 vol% straight fibers. The time-dependent viscosity of cements reinforced with 10 and 15 vol% straight fibers was comparable to the commercial benchmark during curing. Therefore, the addition of relatively small amounts of straight and variable diameter zirconia fibers was able to substantially improve the fatigue resistance of acrylic bone cement while exhibiting similar handling characteristics compared to current commercial products.

Copyright (c) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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