Current Applied Physics, Vol.10, No.3, 729-733, 2010
Experimental and simulated studies on the plastic mechanical characteristics of osteoporotic vertebral trabecular bone
Osteoporotic vertebral fractures present a major health care burden worldwide, thereby prompting vigorous investigation of the mechanical properties of vertebral bone. Because most vertebral fractures occur gradually and asymptomatically, they are thought to result from loading in daily activities rather than traumatic events. Hence, with respect to stress resistance, the elastic properties of osteoporotic vertebral trabecular bone have generated many studies. A large part of this data describes the linear elastic properties of the bone, with relatively less focus on the plastic mechanical characteristics which may be closely associated with load-induced fracture. We performed experimental and simulated studies of the plastic mechanical characteristics of osteoporotic trabecular bone using non-destructive technologies, rapid-prototyping (RP), and finite element (FE) analysis to build models based on high-resolution micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) data. Two-dimensional geometries for RP and FE models were derived from micro-CT scans of specimens from the central part of the lumbar vertebrae of aged female donors. A cubic specimen (6.5 mm) and a cylindrical specimen (7 mm in diameter and 5 mm long) were generated for the RP and FE models and analysed in place of real bone specimens. We performed simulated compression tests with the FE models to indirectly validate results of the experimental compression tests. To a remarkable degree, results obtained from experimental and simulated compression tests with the RP and FE models concurred. The results of this study support the use of RP technology and FE analysis in the non-destructive evaluation of the plastic mechanical characteristics of osteoporotic bone. (c) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.