Secondary osteons, the fundamental units of cortical bone, consist of cylindrical lamellar composites composed of mineralized collagen fibrils. Due to its lamellar structure, a multiscale knowledge of the mechanical properties of cortical bone is required to understand the biomechanical function of the tissue. In this light, nanoindentation tests were performed along the axial and transverse directions following a radial path from the Haversian canal to the osteonal edges. Different length scales are explored by means of indentations at different maximum penetration depths. Indentation moduli and hardness data were then interpreted in the context of the known microstructure. Results suggest that secondary osteons hierarchical structure is responsible for an observed length scale effect, homogenization phenomena and anisotropy of mechanical properties.

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