Effects of geometric and material property changes on the apparent elastic properties of cancellous bone

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Lievers, William Brent
cancellous bone , elastic modulus , specimen dimensions , dehydration , finite element method (FEM) , nanoindentation , micro-CT
Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by reduced bone mass and reduced bone quality. This deterioration manifests itself in osteoporotic fractures at skeletal sites containing large proportions of cancellous bone (ie. forearm, hip, spine). Given the costs associated with these fractures, improvements in our ability to model and predict the behaviour of cancellous bone would be of great financial and social benefit to society. This thesis makes contributions in three areas within the much larger goal of developing a comprehensive model for describing the mechanical behaviour of cancellous bone. Since the accuracy of model predictions can only be as good as the test data against which it is compared, the effect of experimental artifacts introduced by specimen geometry is examined for cored samples. The apparent elastic modulus of cancellous bone is found to be relatively insensitive to specimen (or gauge) length, such that it can be reduced below the recommended 2:1 aspect ratio without introducing detectable artifact. Conversely, apparent modulus is found to be much more sensitive to specimen diameter. The role of water is also examined. Dehydration at room temperature was found to increase the apparent elastic modulus by roughly 14%. This net increase results from the competing effects of an increased tissue modulus and a decreased bone volume fraction due to shrinkage. Finally, preliminary work is presented which attempts to relate micro-CT voxel intensity and locally measured nanoindentation moduli, in order to provide an experimental basis for assigning heterogeneous material properties to finite element method (FEM) models.
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