BME Masters Project: Charlotte Kokernak- “Developing a Small Specimen Fixture and Cutting Procedure for Cortical Bone Fatigue Analysis”

Thursday, April 25, 2024
3:15 pm to 4:00 pm
Floor/Room #

WPI Biomedical Engineering with school seal

Master’s Project Defense

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Gateway 1002

3:15pm — 4:00pm

“Developing a Small Specimen Fixture and Cutting Procedure for Cortical Bone Fatigue Analysis”

Charlotte Kokernak

Abstract: Bone stress injuries (BSIs) are overuse injuries, most frequently impacting athletes and military personnel in their lower extremities. These injuries can be a major hindrance to performance and training, and in some cases daily activities. Cortical bone, the outer shell of a bone shaft, is a valuable research area for understanding bone fragility as it relates to BSIs. This is due to the positive correlation between increased cortical porosity and shorter bone fatigue life. This topic should be further explored to understand bone behavior and the propagation of BSIs due to cyclic loading. The aim of this project was to develop a method to cut tibia cortical bone into five-millimeter cube samples for mechanical compression testing. Alongside the protocol, two fixtures were designed and manufactured to be used in conjunction with an Isomet Low-Speed Diamond saw. Throughout prototyping and development, the fixtures were tested using Sawbones, bovine bones, and human bones. The bovine and human samples were imaged using high resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT) and micro CT to assess repeatability of the cutting procedure and determine bone porosity. Overall, this work developed robust fixtures and a precise and repeatable procedure for obtaining small samples of cortical bone for compression testing. This will provide the opportunity for the Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Lab at WPI to advance research about the relationship between cortical porosity and bone fatigue as they relate to BSIs.


Thesis Advisor:


Defense Committee:


Karen Troy, PhD


Biomedical Engineering

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Diana Alatalo, PhD (Chair)

Assistant Professor

Biomedical Engineering

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Christopher Brown, PhD


Mechanical and Materials Engineering

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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Biomedical Engineering
Contact Person
June Norton