Influence of bone microstructure on the mechanical properties of skull cortical bone – A combined experimental and computational approach
Article dans une revue avec comité de lecture
The strength and compliance of the dense cortical layers of the human skull have been examined since the beginning of the 20th century with the wide range in the observed mechanical properties attributed to natural biological variance. Since this variance may be explained by the difference in structural arrangement of bone tissue, micro-computed tomography (μCT) was used in conjunction with mechanical testing to study the relationship between the microstructure of human skull cortical coupons and their mechanical response. Ninety-seven bone samples were machined from the cortical tables of the calvaria of ten fresh post mortem human surrogates and tested in dynamic tension until failure. A linear response between stress and strain was observed until close to failure, which occurred at 0.6% strain on average. The effective modulus of elasticity for the coupons was 12.01 ± 3.28 GPa. Porosity of the test specimens, determined from μCT, could explain only 51% of the variation of their effective elastic modulus. Finite element (FE) models of the tested specimens built from μCT images indicated that modeling the microstructural arrangement of the bone, in addition to the porosity, led to a marginal improvement of the coefficient of determination to 54%. Modulus for skull cortical bone for an element size of 50 μm was estimated to be 19 GPa at an average. Unlike the load bearing bones of the body, almost half of the variance in the mechanical properties of cortical bone from the skull may be attributed to differences at the sub-osteon ( < 50 μm) level. ANOVA tests indicated that effective failure stress and strain varied significantly between the frontal and parietal bones, while the bone phase modulus was different for the superior and inferior aspects of the calvarium. The micro FE models did not indicate any anisotropy attributable to the pores observable under μCT.
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