Effect of SR-microCT radiation on the mechanical integrity of trabecular bone using in situ mechanical testing and digital volume correlation

Marta Peña Fernández, Silvia Cipiccia, Enrico Dall'Ara, Andrew J. Bodey, Rachna Parwani, Martino Pani, Gordon W. Blunn, Asa H. Barber, Gianluca Tozzi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


The use of synchrotron radiation micro-computed tomography (SR-microCT) is becoming increasingly popular for studying the relationship between microstructure and bone mechanics subjected to in situ mechanical testing. However, it is well known that the effect of SR X-ray radiation can considerably alter the mechanical properties of bone tissue. Digital volume correlation (DVC) has been extensively used to compute full-field strain distributions in bone specimens subjected to step-wise mechanical loading, but tissue damage from sequential SR-microCT scans has not been previously addressed. Therefore, the aim of this study is to examine the influence of SR irradiation-induced microdamage on the apparent elastic properties of trabecular bone using DVC applied to in situ SR-microCT tomograms obtained with different exposure times. Results showed how DVC was able to identify high local strain levels (> 10,000 µε) corresponding to visible microcracks at high irradiation doses (~ 230 kGy), despite the apparent elastic properties remained unaltered. Microcracks were not detected and bone plasticity was preserved for low irradiation doses (~ 33 kGy), although image quality and consequently, DVC performance were reduced. DVC results suggested some local deterioration of tissue that might have resulted from mechanical strain concentration further enhanced by some level of local irradiation even for low accumulated dose.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-119
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • Bone
  • Digital volume correlation
  • Dose
  • In situ testing
  • SR-microCT
  • Tissue damage
  • X-ray radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials

Cite this