Experiments and analyses were performed to determine th e cause of a nonlinear force-deflection response observed in four-point flexural fatigue of beams ofcortical bone machined from the mid-diaphysis of the equine third metacarpus. Observable grooves which formed on the beam surface at supports and load noses were found to be the primary cause of the nonlinearity. An additional geometric nonlinearity at large deflections revealed by finite element modeling may be minimized by using the smallest diameter supports and load noses recommended in ASTM 790. However, frictional constraint of the beams at the load noses and supports can occur at low load levels and should be avoided by using roller-bearing supports and load noses. or some equivalent method.
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