Effects of applied stress ratio on the fatigue behavior of additively manufactured porous biomaterials under compressive loading

Joep de Krijger, Calvin Rans, Brecht Van Hooreweder, Karel Lietaert, Behdad Pouran, Amir A. Zadpoor*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)
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Additively manufactured (AM) porous metallic biomaterials are considered promising candidates for bone substitution. In particular, AM porous titanium can be designed to exhibit mechanical properties similar to bone. There is some experimental data available in the literature regarding the fatigue behavior of AM porous titanium, but the effect of stress ratio on the fatigue behavior of those materials has not been studied before. In this paper, we study the effect of applied stress ratio on the compression-compression fatigue behavior of selective laser melted porous titanium (Ti-6Al-4V) based on the diamond unit cell. The porous titanium biomaterial is treated as a meta-material in the context of this work, meaning that R-ratios are calculated based on the applied stresses acting on a homogenized volume. After morphological characterization using micro computed tomography and quasi-static mechanical testing, the porous structures were tested under cyclic loading using five different stress ratios, i.e + R = 0.1, 0.3, 0.5, 0.7 and 0.8, to determine their S-N curves. Feature tracking algorithms were used for full-field deformation measurements during the fatigue tests. It was observed that the S-N curves of the porous structures shift upwards as the stress ratio increases. The stress amplitude was the most important factor determining the fatigue life. Constant fatigue life diagrams were constructed and compared with similar diagrams for bulk Ti-6Al-4V. Contrary to the bulk material, there was limited dependency of the constant life diagrams to mean stress. The notches present in the AM biomaterials were the sites of crack initiation. This observation and other evidence suggest that the notches created by the AM process cause the insensitivity of the fatigue life diagrams to mean stress. Feature tracking algorithms visualized the deformation during fatigue tests and demonstrated the root cause of inclined (45°) planes of specimen failure. In conclusion, the R-ratio behavior of AM porous biomaterials is both quantitatively and qualitatively different from that of bulk materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-16
JournalJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Accepted Author Manuscript


  • Bone grafting
  • Cellular structures
  • Fatigue life
  • Orthopaedic implants
  • Stress ratio


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