Bone is a composite material composed of collagen, carbonated apatite mineral, water, and other non-collagenous proteins. The bone structure inside human body is under constant remodelling. The mechanical properties of bone and their dynamic changes during remodelling are crucial to the health and quality of life.
In this study, the elastic and viscoelastic properties of a 73 year-old female cortical bone were investigated at the lamellar level. This was realized by a nanoindentation technique equipped with dynamic loading function. 325 indentations were made in individual Haversian systems and interstitial bone at both dry and wet condition, and under two different loading frequencies. The results showed no statistically significant differences in elastic modulus between Haversian systems and interstitial bone. There were no systematic differences in modulus across the cortex except for a slight drop at the periosteal site. The lamellar structure of both Haversian system and interstitial bone is viscoelastic with water playing a significant role to the properties. When dry bone is re-hydrated, elastic modulus decreases and loss tangent increases.