A long-bar apparatus for subjecting relatively small samples to stress-wave loading has been devised for failure characterization. A methodology based on digital image correlation (DIC) used in conjunction with ultra high-speed photography and a long-bar impactor has been developed for determining dynamic crack initiation stress intensity factor (SIF) , as well as SIFs for a rapidly growing crack during high-strain rate events. By altering the material of the pulse shaper, a range of strain rates has been attained. Commercial grade PMMA was first used to calibrate the device, and then dynamic fracture characterization was performed for the first time on PMMA-based bone cement (BC). Despite several key differences, the two materials performed similarly during quasi-static fracture tests; however, under dynamic loading conditions, bone cement exhibited significantly lower crack initiation SIF , lower dynamic SIFs , and higher crack tip velocities for three different dynamic loading rates .