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The Mechanical Adaptations of Bones

The Mechanical Adaptations of Bones

Copyright Date: 1984
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    The Mechanical Adaptations of Bones
    Book Description:

    This book relates the mechanical and structural properties of bone to its function in man and other vertebrates. John Currey, one of the pioneers of modern bone research, reviews existing information in the field and particularly emphasizes the correlation of the structure of bone with its various uses.

    Originally published in 1984.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5372-4
    Subjects: Zoology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. 1. The Mechanical Properties of Materials and the Structure of Bone
    (pp. 3-37)

    Any biological material has an enormous number of mechanical properties that it is possible for scientists to investigate and that may also be tested by natural selection. Not all are likely to be of importance. I shall here discuss a question that will recur, by implication, frequently in this book: what are bones for? It is not worthwhile discussing at length the philosophical question of whether bone can be said to be designed for anything at all. As a convinced Darwinist, I believe that all living organisms are nicely designed for the conditions that their ancestors of the last few...

  5. 2. The Mechanical Properties of Bone
    (pp. 38-87)

    This chapter is concerned with the basic mechanical properties of bone and how they are measured. Such a great amount of material has been gathered in the last twenty years or so about the mechanical properties of bone that it would be futile to try to summarize it. Fortunately, there is much agreement about most of the properties, so I shall take as datum points a few papers, and mention later the main variants. The mechanical properties I shall deal with are: elastic properties (mainly Young’s modulus), strength (in tension, compression, and shear), and fracture mechanics properties. I shall discuss...

  6. 3. The Limits of the Mechanical Properties of Bone
    (pp. 88-97)

    In general, the mechanical properties of bone taken from limb bones of mammals and birds seem to vary rather little between bones and between species. For instance, Biewener (1982) tested whole bones of animals as small as the mouse (0.04 kg body mass) and the painted quail (0.05 kg body mass). The strength of the bone of these animals, and of somewhat larger ones, was about the same as the bone of the horse, the cow, and man. However, as soon as one strays from testing the limb bone of adult, quadrupedal, terrestrial amniotes, it becomes apparent that bone can...

  7. 4. The Shapes of Bones
    (pp. 98-157)

    The bones making up the skeleton of a vertebrate, though forming an infinity of shapes in detail, are nevertheless really of a few types only. This is seen in any typical mammal. There are long bones, such as the humerus, radius, ulna, femur, tibia, fibula, and the metacarpals and metatarsals (figure 4.1a). These are long, thin, fairly straight and, like nearly all bones, hollow. There are bones, such as the carpals and tarsals, which are not much longer in one direction than any other. These tend to be thin-walled and to be filled with cancellous bone (figure 4.1b). There are...

  8. 5. Articulations
    (pp. 158-184)

    Because bones are rigid, design problems are inevitable when it is necessary to move one in space relative to another. The joints between bones have a most important influence on the functioning of the skeleton, and we shall consider them at some length.

    The relative motions of two rigid bodies in space can be described by means of six independent modes of motion (figure 5.1). There are three of translation and three of rotation. These independent modes are called degrees of freedom. If the two elements are independent, all six modes must be used to describe their relative positions, and...

  9. 6. Bones, Tendons, and Muscles
    (pp. 185-222)

    The bony skeletons in a museum give such a good feeling for what the animals must have been like that we tend to forget what a skeleton is. We are looking only at the compression members of a structure whose tension members have rotted away. In some ways, the whole of this book can be thought of as an extended Hamlet without the Prince. Bones have no functional meaning without their muscles, tendons, and ligaments, which move them and hold them together. Contrarily, of course, muscles and tendons must always act against something comparatively unyielding, such as bone, cuticle, or...

  10. 7. Safety Factors and Scaling Effects in Bones
    (pp. 223-244)

    In chapter 4 we discussed the mechanical properties of whole bones. However, there was an important omission in the analysis, which we must now try to fill. We have assumed that natural selection has, for instance, specified some load that must be borne without too much deflection, or fracture. But, why is this criterion set, rather than some other? In particular, what relationship does the load that the bone is designed to bear have to the loads that are encountered in life? Essentially this is a question of safety factors.

    Every improvement in some mechanical property of a bone will...

  11. 8. Construction and Reconstruction
    (pp. 245-270)

    In the previous chapter I discussed the way in which the build of bones and the mechanical properties of bone material are adapted to the requirements of the animal. I did not discuss how this adaptation was brought about. Lanyon and Rubin (1983) have an interesting discussion of this topic. Bones have quite intricate shapes, yet they also have a general size and build that seems to be adapted to the loads they bear. It is well known that bed rest (Minaire et al., 1976) and weightlessness, as in space flight (Vogel et al., 1977; Morey and Baylink, 1978), lead...

  12. References
    (pp. 271-286)
  13. Index
    (pp. 287-294)