Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 47, Issue 12, pp 2384–2401 | Cite as

Cortical and Trabecular Bone Fracture Characterisation in the Vertebral Body Using Acoustic Emission

  • Dale L. Robinson
  • Kwong Ming Tse
  • Melanie Franklyn
  • JiangYue Zhang
  • David Ackland
  • Peter Vee Sin LeeEmail author


The ability to rapidly detect localised fractures of cortical and/or trabecular bone sustained by the vertebral body would enhance the analysis of vertebral fracture initiation and propagation during dynamic loading. In this study, high rate axial compression tests were performed on twenty sets of three-vertebra lumbar spine specimens. Acoustic Emission (AE) sensor measurements of sound wave pressure were used to classify isolated trabecular fractures and severe compressive fractures of vertebral body cortical and trabecular bone. Fracture detection using standard AE parameters was compared to that of traditional mechanical parameters obtained from load cell and displacement readings. Results indicated that the AE parameters achieved slightly enhanced classification of isolated trabecular fractures, whereas the mechanical parameters better identified combined fractures of cortical and trabecular bone. These findings demonstrate that AE may be used to promptly and accurately identify localised fractures of trabecular bone, whereas more extensive fractures of the vertebral body are best identified by load cell readings due to the considerable loss in compressive resistance. The discrimination thresholds corresponding to the AE parameters were based on calibrated measurements of AE wave pressure and may ultimately be used to examine the onset and progression of vertebral fracture in other loading scenarios.


Acoustic emission Dynamic compression Lumbar spine vertebrae Vertebral fracture 



The authors would like to acknowledge the support from Defence Science and Technology Group, Australia and the collaboration with U.S. Army Research Laboratory for this research. We also acknowledge the facilities and scientific and technical assistance of the National Imaging Facility, a National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) capability, at Monash Biomedical Imaging, Monash University.

Supplementary material

10439_2019_2316_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (142 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 183 kb)


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Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dale L. Robinson
    • 1
  • Kwong Ming Tse
    • 1
  • Melanie Franklyn
    • 2
  • JiangYue Zhang
    • 3
  • David Ackland
    • 1
  • Peter Vee Sin Lee
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Biomedical EngineeringThe University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Defence Science and Technology Group, Department of DefenceMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics LabLaurelUSA

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