The Effect of Material Heterogeneity, Element Type, and Down-Sampling on Trabecular Stiffness in Micro Finite Element Models
Annals of Biomedical Engineering
URL with Digital Object Identifier
© 2018, Biomedical Engineering Society. Preclinical and clinical bone strength predictions can be elucidated by understanding bone mechanics at a variety of hierarchical levels. As such, down-sampled micro-CT images are often used to make comparisons across image resolutions or used to reduce computational resources in micro finite element models (µFEMs). Therefore, the objectives of this study were to compare trabecular apparent modulus among (i) hexahedral and tetrahedral µFEMs, (ii) µFEMs generated from 32, 64, and 64 µm down-sampled from 32 µm µCT scans, and (iii) µFEMs with homogeneous and heterogeneous tissue moduli. Trabecular µFEMs were generated from scans at the three spatial resolutions taken from the glenoid vault of 14 cadaveric specimens. Simulated unconstrained compression was performed and used to calculate and compare the apparent modulus of each µFEM. It was found that models derived from high-resolution images that account for material heterogeneity are nearly equivalent whether hexahedral or tetrahedral elements are used. However, translation of stiffness from down-sampled scans are not equivalent to scans performed at the down-sampled resolution, or that account for trabecular material heterogeneity. Material heterogeneity is most representative of in vivo trabecular bone and to accurately model trabecular mechanical properties, material heterogeneity should be considered in future µFEM development.