Experimental validation of a finite element model of a composite tibia

H. A. Gray, A. B. Zavatsky, F. Taddei, L. Cristofolini, H. S. Gill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (SciVal)


Composite bones are synthetic models made to simulate the mechanical behaviour of human bones. Finite element (FE) models of composite bone can be used to evaluate new and modified designs of joint prostheses and fixation devices. The aim of the current study was to create an FE model of a composite tibia and to validate it against results obtained from a comprehensive set of experiments. For this, 17 strain rosettes were attached to a composite tibia (model 3101, Pacific Research Laboratories, Vashon, Washington, USA). Surface strains and displacements were measured under 13 loading conditions. Two FE models were created on the basis of computed tomography scans. The models differed from each other in the mesh and material properties assigned. The experiments were simulated on them and the results compared with experimental results. The more accurate model was selected on the basis of regression analysis. In general, experimental strain measurements were highly repeatable and compared well with published results. The more accurate model, in which the inner elements representing the foam were assigned isotropic material properties and the elements representing the epoxy layer were assigned transversely isotropic material properties, was able to simulate the mechanical behaviour of the tibia with acceptable accuracy. The regression line for all axial loads combined had a slope of 0.999, an intercept of -6.24 microstrain, and an R2 value of 0.962. The root mean square error as a percentage was 5 per cent.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-324
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part H - Journal of Engineering in Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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