We developed a noninvasive method to evaluate hone structural integrity. It is based on the measurement of the dynamic characteristics of the bone using sweeping sound excitation in the range of acoustic frequencies. The Quality Factor (a measure of material damping) has been used as an indicator of the tendency of the bone to fracture. Results of animal studies have supported this hypothesis since linear correlations were observed between hone density, quality factor, and impact strength. A vibration excitation in the form of an acoustic sweep signal is applied to a bone to measure the quality factor. Rat bones were tested, obtained from animals with osteoporosis age-dependent (tested in vitro) or ovariectomy-induced (tested in vivo), and compared with bones of healthy (control) rats. The change in damping was, on average, equal or greater to the change in density. Moreover, excellent correlation of the quality factor was obtained with bone fracture energy measured with an impact test. During a vibration cycle, the changing strain results in temperature changes due to the reciprocity of temperature and strain. Nonreversible conduction of heat due to the unequal temperature change results in entropy production that is enhanced due to the stress concentration about the voids associated with bone porosity. Damping is a measure of the production of entropy. Its measure, the quality factor, represents a potentially useful tool for monitoring bone integrity, which is deteriorating in diseases characterized by disruption of the trabecular architecture, such as osteoporosis. A computational model yielded results that are in good correlation with the experimental results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-431
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biomechanical Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1999


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