This paper gives an insight about compression and tension cracks as encountered at a bone-cement interface. Within the context of continuum theory of fracture, an analytical solution is presented for the problem of a bimaterial interface edge crack under uniaxial tension or compression, assuming no tangential slip along the crack faces since cement pedicles penetrate into the cancellous bone several millimeters. Also essential to the solution are cohesive zone effects that account for a strengthening mechanism over the crack faces. The solution provides a methodological framework for quantifying the influence of the cohesive zone on the magnitude of the stress singularity. Mode I crack tip stress intensity factors are calculated at different stages of the loading and unloading phases under uniaxial tension or compression. Finally, an inelastic mechanism is presented that gives theoretical support to explain the formation of interfacial compression cracks, a phenomenon that was not previously appreciated and that arises from the rigid cement being forced into the more compliant cancellous bone.

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