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J Biomech. 1990;23(6):549-61.

The fabric dependence of the orthotropic elastic constants of cancellous bone.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118.


It has been proposed that the orthotropic elastic constants of cancellous bone depend upon a tensorial measure of anisotropy called fabric as well as the tissue's structural density. Cowin (1985, Mechanics Mater, 4, 137-147; 1986, J. biomech. Engng 108, 83-88) developed explicit relationships for the elastic constant, structural density and fabric relationship. In this study the orthotropic elastic moduli, structural density, and fabric components were measured for 11 cancellous bone specimens from five bovine femora and for 75 specimens from three human proximal tibiae and fitted to these relationships using a least squares analysis. The relationships explained between 72 and 94% of the variance in the elastic constants. The relationships between the elastic constants and squared or cubed power functions of structural density had better predictive value over the entire distribution of the data than did expressions with linear functions of structural density.

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