Effect of radiation-induced damage of trabecular bone tissue evaluated using indentation and digital volume correlation

Aikaterina Karali*, Enrico Dall'Ara, Jurgita Zekonyte, Alexander P. Kao, Gordon Blunn, Gianluca Tozzi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Exposure to X-ray radiation for an extended amount of time can cause damage to the bone tissue and therefore affect its mechanical properties. Specifically, high-resolution X-ray Computed Tomography (XCT), in both synchrotron and lab-based systems, has been employed extensively for evaluating bone micro-to-nano architecture. However, to date, it is still unclear how long exposures to X-ray radiation affect the mechanical properties of trabecular bone, particularly in relation to lab-XCT systems. Indentation has been widely used to identify local mechanical properties such as hardness and elastic modulus of bone and other biological tissues. The purpose of this study is therefore, to use indentation and XCT-based investigative tools such as digital volume correlation (DVC) to assess the microdamage induced by long exposure of trabecular bone tissue to X-ray radiation and how this affects its local mechanical properties. Trabecular bone specimens were indented before and after X-ray exposures of 33 and 66 hours, where variation of elastic modulus was evaluated at every stage. The resulting elastic modulus was decreased, and micro-cracks appeared in the specimens after the first long X-ray exposure and crack formation increased after the second exposure. High strain concentration around the damaged tissue exceeding 1 % was also observed from DVC analysis. The outcomes of this study show the importance of designing appropriate XCT-based experiments in lab systems to avoid degradation of the bone tissue mechanical properties due to radiation and these results will help to inform future studies that require long X-ray exposure for in situ experiments or generation of reliable subject-specific computational models.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105636
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
Early online date5 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2023


  • Digital volume correlation (DVC)
  • Indentation
  • Tissue irradiation
  • Trabecular bone
  • X-ray computed tomography (XCT)
  • UKRI
  • EP/K03877X/1
  • EP/S032940/1


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