Transmission of acoustic emission in bones, implants and dental materials

Zannar Ossi, Wael Abdou, Robert L. Reuben, Richard J. Ibbetson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


There is considerable interest in using acoustic emission (AE) and ultrasound to assess the quality of implant-bone interfaces and to monitor for micro-damage leading to loosening. However, remarkably little work has been done on the transmission of ultrasonic waves though the physical and biological structures involved. The aim of this in vitro study is to assess any differences in transmission between various dental materials and bovine rib bones with various degrees of hydration. Two types of tests have been carried out using pencil lead breaks as a standard AE source. The first set of tests was configured to assess the surface propagation of AE on various synthetic materials compared with fresh bovine rib bone. The second is a set of transmission tests on fresh, dried and hydrated bones each fitted with dental implants with various degrees of fixity, which includes components due to bone and interface transmission. The results indicate that transmission through glass ionomer cement is closest to the bone. This would suggest that complete osseointegration could potentially be simulated using such cement. The transmission of AE energy through bone was found to be dependent on its degree of hydration. It was also found that perfusing samples of fresh bone with water led to an increase in transmitted energy, but this appeared to affect transmission across the interface more than transmission through the bone. These findings have implications not only for implant interface inspection but also for passive AE monitoring of implants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1237-1245
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Part H, Journal of Engineering in Medicine
Issue number11
Early online date20 Aug 2013
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013

Bibliographical note

The authors are grateful to U-Impl, Switzerland, for kindly providing the implants used in the tests.

Declaration of conflicting interests
The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.


  • Implant
  • implant primary stability
  • osseointegration
  • acoustic emission
  • transmission


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