Background. The Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) is listed as endangered by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Manatee ribs have different microstructure from the compact bone of other mammals. Biomechanical properties of the manatee ribs need to be better understood. Fracture toughness has been shown to be a good index to assess the mechanical performance of bone. Quantitative fractography can be used in concert with fracture mechanics equations to identify fracture initiating defects∕cracks and to calculate the fracture toughness of bone materials. Method of approach. Fractography is a standard technique for analyzing fracture behavior of brittle and quasi-brittle materials. Manatee ribs are highly mineralized and fracture in a manner similar to quasi-brittle materials. Therefore, quantitative fractography was applied to determine the fracture toughness of manatee ribs. Results. Average fracture toughness values of small flexure specimens from six different sizes of manatees ranged from . Scanning electron microscope (SEM) images show most of the fracture origins were at openings for blood vessels and interlayer spaces. Conclusions. Quantitative fractography and fracture mechanics can be combined to estimate the fracture toughness of the material in manatee rib bone. Fracture toughness of subadult and calf manatees appears to increase as the size of the manatee increases. Average fracture toughness of the manatee rib bone materials is less than the transverse fracture toughness of human and bovine tibia and femur.
Application of Fracture Mechanics to Failure in Manatee Rib Bone
Yan, J., Clifton, K. B., Reep, R. L., and Mecholsky, J. J., Jr. (December 5, 2005). "Application of Fracture Mechanics to Failure in Manatee Rib Bone." ASME. J Biomech Eng. June 2006; 128(3): 281–289. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.2187044
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