Composition of the cement line and its possible mechanical role as a local interface in human compact bone

David B. Burr, Mitchell B. Schaffler, Richard G. Frederickson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

205 Scopus citations


Human compact bone may be viewed as a fiber reinforced composite material in which the secondary osteons act as the fiber reinforcements. The cement line, which is the interface between the 'fibers' (osteons) and extraosteonal bone matrix, may impart important mechanical properties to compact bone. The nature of these properties is not known partly because the composition of the cement line is unknown. This analysis examines the constituents of the osteon cement line using scanning electron microscopy and X-ray microprobe analysis to address its biomechanical functions as a local interface. The analysis suggests that the cement line is a region of reduced mineralization which may contain sulfated mucosubstances. This composition is consistent with the hypothesis that the cement line provides a relatively ductile interface with surrounding bone matrix, and that it provides the point specific stiffness differences, poor 'fiber'-matrix bonding and energy transfer qualities required to promote crack initiation but slow crack growth in compact bone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)939-941,943-945
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1988


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation

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