We developed a method of applying vibration to the impaction bone grafting process and assessed its effect on the mechanical properties of the impacted graft. Washed morsellised bovine femoral heads were impacted into shear test rings. A range of frequencies of vibration was tested, as measured using an accelerometer housed in a vibration chamber. Each shear test was repeated at four different normal loads to generate stress-strain curves. The Mohr-Coulomb failure envelope from which shear strength and interlocking values are derived was plotted for each test. The experiments were repeated with the addition of blood in order to replicate a saturated environment.
Graft impacted with the addition of vibration at all frequencies showed improved shear strength when compared with impaction without vibration, with 60 Hz giving the largest effect. Under saturated conditions the addition of vibration was detrimental to the shear strength of the aggregate. The civil-engineering principles of particulate settlement and interlocking also apply to impaction bone grafting. Although previous studies have shown that vibration may be beneficial in impaction bone grafting on the femoral side, our study suggests that the same is not true in acetabular revision.