The mechanical properties of fully hydrated equine hoof wall were examined at various loading rates in compact tension (CT) fracture, tensile and three-point bending dynamic tests to determine possible effects of hoof wall viscoelasticity on fracture toughness and tensile parameters. Four cross-head rates were used in CT tests: 1.7 x 10(-5), 1.7 x 10 (-3), 1.7 x 10(-2) and 2.5ms-1; four strain rates were used in tensile tests: 1.6 x 10(-3), 3.2 x 10(-2), 0.33 and 70s(-1). Speeds for the highest test rates were achieved using a large, custom-built impact pendulum. Bending test frequencies ranged from 0.04 to 200 Hz. In CT tests, both the initial modulus Ei and the stress intensity factor K rose with increasing strain rate (from 0.38 to 0.76 GPa for Ei and from 0.71 to 1.4 MN m-3/2 for K), whereas the fracture toughness parameter J remained constant at 12kJm-2. All tensile parameters except ultimate strain were sensitive to strain rate. Ei, total energy to breakage and maximum stress rose with increasing strain rate from 0.28 to 0.85 GPa, from 5.4 to 9.7 MJm-3 and from 17 to 31 MPa, respectively. Data from low-amplitude dynamic tests agreed well with Ei trends from CT and tensile tests. Direction of crack growth differed through the thickness of the wall, the pattern of which resembled a trilaminar ply. Although scanning electron microscopic examination of fracture surfaces revealed a decreasing pseudo-ductile behaviour with increasing strain rate, and ultimate tensile parameters are positively affected, equine hoof wall viscoelasticity does not appear to compromise fracture toughness at high strain rates.

This content is only available via PDF.