Bone Cracking

An investigation of techniques for monitoring cortical bone cracking


The research is to investigate mirco and gross cracking of bone with a view to the development of a crack and damage monitoring device using either acoustic or ultrasonic monitoring sensors.

The Research Team

Mr. Ger O’Reilly Principal Researcher Department of Engineering, IT, Sligo.

Dr. Brendan McCormack Joint Researcher Department of Engineering, IT, Sligo.

Mr. Ashkan Safari Research Student Department of Engineering, IT, Sligo.


Surgical procedures involving cutting of bone are complex processes. The surgeon must ensure that patient trauma during and post operative procedure is minimised and that the procedure will result in a successful healing process. Bone is a complex living material, capable of regeneration of damaged areas During a operative procedure a surgeon may use a number of cutting instruments to complete the operative procedure. This may result in micro structural damage to the bone such as cracking and micro cracking. It has been observed by other researchers that micro cracking processes that occur as part of a larger crack creation process. This is largely due to the diversion of energy to the micro cracking process. When a saturation level for the rate and cumulative totals of micro cracks necessary to allow main crack propagation to proceed have been proposed.

Acoustic and ultrasound system as well as visual numerical counting techniques have been used in various fields of research to predict levels of failure in materials. Acoustic and ultrasonic sensors are widely used for detection of cracks and faults in engineering materials. It is proposed to use these concepts as a basis for development of an acoustic/ultrasound/vibration sensor that would facilitate monitoring of bone cracking and to devise a relationship between the rate of cracking observed ultrasonically and main cracking propagation.

Project Details

The primary aim of this research are:-

Review of the current literature on damage in bone and studies dealing with monitoring of damage in bone, and other materials. Review of literature on sensors for monitoring of damage and cracking of materials.

Development of a crack and damage monitoring device using either acoustic or ultrasonic monitoring sensors suitable for monitoring and prediction of micro and gross cracking of bone.

Completion of studies involving the monitoring of micro cracking and gross cracking and investigation of the force damage relationship and its linkage with acoustically observed damage.

Data analysis and presentation of system for relationship of micro cracking to gross cracking propagation with applied force. Correlation of data received from monitoring devce to visually observed damage ad recorded applied force.

Preparation of post graduate degree report and at least one appropriate research paper for peer review journal.