The effect of processing conditions on the properties of poly(methyl methacrylate) fibers

Debra D. Wright, Eugene P. Lautenschlager, Jeremy L. Gilbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Brittle failure of bone cement remains a problem for the long-term stability of hip prostheses. Fibers have been developed from poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) that retain the chemistry of bone cement, but improve the mechanical properties greatly. To fabricate the fibers, a polymer melt is extruded out of a small die (spinneret) and pulled onto a take-up wheel. Varying the speed of extrusion and temperature of the melt can control the viscosity of the molten polymer. This study examines the effect of melt viscosity on the resultant properties of fibers fabricated from PMMA. The goals are to optimize fiber processing and determine processing-structure-property relationships. Resultant fibers had moderate to high levels of retained molecular orientation, and ultimate tensile strengths (UTS) ranging from 60 to 225 MPa, moduli from 1.5 to 3.5 GPa, and strain to failure from 10 to 40%. Fibers fabricated at a constant viscosity and draw velocity had identical properties, whereas decreasing the viscosity generally increased the mechanical properties and retained orientation. Linear regression models were constructed to predict how the processing variables affect the structure (orientation) of the fiber and how the structure affects the UTS. This can be used to design efficient processing methods for PMMA fibers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-160
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002


  • Bone cement
  • Fibers
  • PMMA
  • Tensile tests

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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