Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering

Document Type





Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. David Pienkowski


Multiwall carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) have extraordinary mechanical and thermal transport properties. They significantly improve the static and dynamic mechanical properties of acrylic orthopaedic bone cement when added to the dry cement polymer powder. Understanding the role MWNTs play on bone cement polymerization temperatures will lead to improved mechanical integrity of the cement-bone interface in joint arthroplasties. It was determined through thermal testing that MWNTs increased the polymerization time of the methylmethacrylate by 45-460% and decreased the peak exothermic temperature of bone cement with and without antibiotics. The flow of heat produced during polymerizing cement was reduced 25-85% with the addition of MWNTs to the cement powder. This decreases the probability of thermal necrosis and “hot” spots caused by high exothermic polymerization temperatures that can destroy the bone adjacent to the cement. These high temperatures also affect the potency and range of antibiotics used in arthroplasty. Isothermal and elution studies determined that MWNTs altered the heat flow and amount of antibiotic release from bone cement during polymerization. Antibiotic elution from bone cement containing MWNTs could match the elution seen in pure cement. The alteration of the flow of heat from bone cement leads to new options for heat-labile antibiotics in total joint arthroplasty.