Characterization of intrinsic bone properties by nanoindentation: Influence of dietary regime

The strength of bones is determined on one side by its architecture (geometry, porosity, cortical thickness, etc.) and on the other side by its intrinsic properties (mechanical properties of the bone tissue). While the effect of architecture can be determined by macroscopic testing (compression tests), the intrinsic properties have to be investigated locally on a microscopic scale. For this, the nanoindentation technique has been selected as one of the preferred tools because it can measure mechanical properties on the micrometer level and below. Nanoindentation has been used to detect differences between cortical and trabecular bone, time dependent behavior and gradient in mechanical properties in various areas on the bone.

Measurements of mechanical properties of bones present a major challenge in orthopedic medicine. This is because the mechanical properties of bone are determined on one side by its architectural variables such as geometry, porosity and cortical thickness and on the other side by the intrinsic properties of the bone tissue. While many macroscopic testing methods are available to characterize the bone as a bulk material (among others compression and bending testing), the intrinsic properties of the bone has to be proved on a microscopic level. macroscopic analysis, which yields averaged quantities over larger length scales, may not be sensitive enough to identify the underlying differences between two similar samples. Hence, nanoscale studies are desirable for the resolved characterization of these complex materials. In addition, nanoscale  ethodologies are useful when the volume of material available is too small for larger scale analyses, for example with tissue engineered bone formation in critical-sized defects and rat

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