Critical comparison of two methods for the determination of nanomechanical properties of a material: Application to synthetic and natural biomaterials


Two methods used for determining the elastic modulus (E) and hardness (H) of a material-the original version of the well-known Oliver-Pharr Method, OOPM, and a variant of it called the Modified Slopes Method, MSM-were critically compared. The nanoindentation test results, of indenter load-versus-indenter displacement, were recorded for six series of specimens, three of commercially-available acrylic bone cements (Palacos® R and Cemex® XL) and three of bones (human, bovine, and mouse). In the first series, the specimens were prepared from Palacos® R cement mantles retrieved from cemented total hip joint replacements after 11 months, 11 years, and 21 years in vivo. In the second and third series, the specimens were fabricated from hand- and vacuum-mixed dough of Cemex XL® cement, respectively. In the fourth, fifth, and sixth series, the specimens were prepared from fresh frozen cortical bone of human tibia, plexiform bone from fresh bovine tibia, and femora from inbred mice, respectively. It was found that, for a given material, the values of E or H computed using OOPM and MSM are not significantly different. However, the recommendation is that MSM is preferable because it is straightforward-only the nanoindentation measurements and values of constants that depend on the geometry of the indenter used are needed. In contrast, when the OOPM is used, there is a critical input (the indenter tip area function), whose computation is problematic. The article also includes a succinct discussion of factors that affect the values of material properties computed from nanoindentation measurements, such as the loading rate and the surface roughness of the test specimen. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Publication Title

Journal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part B Applied Biomaterials