Investigation into the material properties of beech wood and cortical bone

AH Murdoch, KJ Mathias, Duncan Shepherd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


When testing medical implants it is very important to be able to test the implant using a suitable material. In the case of orthopaedic implants the optimum material is bone. Beech wood is considered a suitable substitute for bone as it has a similar Young's modulus in tension. Although it is widely used, no actual comparison of the two materials has been undertaken. The aim of this study was to compare the material properties of beech wood and cortical bone using conventional compression tests. Cortical bone samples 4 mm in diameter and 20 mm in length, were prepared from the tibia of an amputated leg. Beech wood samples were prepared to the same specifications. In compression, the Young's modulus for cortical bone was found to be 27+/-9.9 GPa (mean +/- standard deviation) and for beech wood 2.6+/-1.7 GPa. The failure load for cortical bone was 911+/-207 N and 732+/-62 N for beech wood. Although beech wood has been used as a substitute for bone in some studies, this study has shown that there are significant differences in the properties of the two materials when they are subjected to compression.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalBio-Medical Materials and Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2004


  • beech wood
  • cortical bone
  • compression
  • Young's modulus


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