This study analyses the degradation rate of selected mechanical properties of bone cement contaminated with human blood and saline solution. During the polymerisation stage, the PMMA cement specimens were supplemented with the selected physiological fluids in a range of concentrations from 0% to 10%. The samples were then subjected to the standardised compression tests, as per ISO 5833: 2002, and hardness tests. The obtained results were analysed statistically to display the difference in the degradation of the material relative to the degree of contamination. Subsequently, numerical modelling was employed to determine the mathematical relationship between the degree of contamination and the material strength degradation rate. The introduction of various concentrations of contaminants into the cement mass resulted in a statistically significant change in their compressive strength. It was shown that the addition of more than 4% of saline and more than 6% of blood (by weight) causes that the specimens exhibit lower strength than the minimum critical value of 70 MPa, specified in the abovementioned International Standard. It was further revealed that the cement hardness characteristics degraded accordingly. The mathematical models showed a very good fit with the results from the experiments: The coefficient of determination R2
was 0.987 in the case of the linear hardness model for blood and 0.983 for salt solution; secondly, the values of R2
for the third-degree polynomial model of compressive strength were 0.88 for blood and 0.92 for salt. From the results, it can be seen that there is a quantitative/qualitative relationship between the contamination rate and the drop in the tested mechanical characteristics. Therefore, great effort must be taken to minimise the contact of the bone cement with physiological fluids, which naturally occur in the operative field, particularly when the material cures, in order to prevent the cement material strength declining below the minimum threshold specified in the ISO standard.
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