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J Biomech. 2000 Dec;33(12):1575-83.

High-resolution finite element models with tissue strength asymmetry accurately predict failure of trabecular bone.

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  • 1Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of California, 6175 Etcheverry Hall, 94720-1740, Berkeley, CA, USA.


The ability to predict trabecular failure using microstructure-based computational models would greatly facilitate study of trabecular structure-function relations, multiaxial strength, and tissue remodeling. We hypothesized that high-resolution finite element models of trabecular bone that include cortical-like strength asymmetry at the tissue level, could predict apparent level failure of trabecular bone for multiple loading modes. A bilinear constitutive model with asymmetric tissue yield strains in tension and compression was applied to simulate failure in high-resolution finite element models of seven bovine tibial specimens. Tissue modulus was reduced by 95% when tissue principal strains exceeded the tissue yield strains. Linear models were first calibrated for effective tissue modulus against specimen-specific experimental measures of apparent modulus, producing effective tissue moduli of (mean+/-S.D.) 18.7+/-3.4GPa. Next, a parameter study was performed on a single specimen to estimate the tissue level tensile and compressive yield strains. These values, 0.60% strain in tension and 1.01% strain in compression, were then used in non-linear analyses of all seven specimens to predict failure for apparent tensile, compressive, and shear loading. When compared to apparent yield properties previously measured for the same type of bone, the model predictions of both the stresses and strains at failure were not statistically different for any loading case (p>0.15). Use of symmetric tissue strengths could not match the experimental data. These findings establish that, once effective tissue modulus is calibrated and uniform but asymmetric tissue failure strains are used, the resulting models can capture the apparent strength behavior to an outstanding level of accuracy. As such, these computational models have reached a level of fidelity that qualifies them as surrogates for destructive mechanical testing of real specimens.

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