An instrumentation capable of simultaneously determining degree of conversion (DC), polymerization stress (PS), and polymerization exotherm (PE) in real time was introduced to self-curing bone cements. This comprises the combination of an in situ high-speed near-infrared spectrometer, a cantilever-beam instrument with compliance-variable feature, and a microprobe thermocouple. Two polymethylmethacrylate-based commercial bone cements, containing essentially the same raw materials but differ in their viscosity for orthopedic applications, were used to demonstrate the applicability of the instrumentation. The results show that for both the cements studied the final DC was marginally different, the final PS was different at the low compliance, the peak of the PE was similar, and their polymerization rates were significantly different. Systematic variation of instrumental compliance for testing reveals differences in the characteristics of PS profiles of both the cements. This emphasizes the importance of instrumental compliance in obtaining an accurate understanding of PS evaluation. Finally, the key advantage for the simultaneous measurements is that these polymerization properties can be correlated directly, thus providing higher measurement confidence and enables a more in-depth understanding of the network formation process.
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