Calcium phosphate cement reinforced with poly (vinyl alcohol) fibers

An experimental and numerical failure analysis

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Calcium phosphate cements (CPCs) have been widely used during the past decades as biocompatible bone substitution in maxillofacial, oral and orthopedic surgery. CPCs are injectable and are chemically resemblant to the mineral phase of native bone. Nevertheless, their low fracture toughness and high brittleness reduce their clinical applicability to weakly loaded bones. Reinforcement of CPC matrix with polymeric fibers can overcome these mechanical drawbacks and significantly enhance their toughness and strength. Such fiber-reinforced calcium phosphate cements (FRCPCs) have the potential to act as advanced bone substitute in load-bearing anatomical sites. This work achieves integrated experimental and numerical characterization of the mechanical properties of FRCPCs under bending and tensile loading. To this end, a 3-D numerical gradient enhanced damage model combined with a dimensionally-reduced fiber model are employed to develop a computational model for material characterization and to simulate the failure process of fiber-reinforced CPC matrix based on experimental data. In addition, an advanced interfacial constitutive law, derived from micromechanical pull-out tests, is used to represent the interaction between the polymeric fiber and CPC matrix. The presented computational model is successfully validated with the experimental results and offers a firm basis for further investigations on the development of numerical and experimental analysis of fiber-reinforced bone cements.