An experimental-numerical methodology for a rapid prototyped application combined with finite element models in vertebral trabecular bone

D. G. Woo, C. H. Kim, H. S. Kim, D. Lim

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In the present study, a novel evaluation method involving rapid prototyped (RP) technology and finite element (FE) analysis was used to study the elastic mechanical characteristics of human vertebral trabecular bone. Three-dimensional (3D) geometries of the RP and FE models were obtained from the central area of vertebral bones of female cadavers, age 70 and 85. RP and FE models were generated from the same high-resolution micro-computed tomography (μCT) scan data. We utilized RP technology along with FE analysis based on μCT for high-resolution vertebral trabecular bone specimens. RP models were used to fabricate complex 3D objects of vertebral trabecular bone that were created in a fused deposition modeling machine. RP models of vertebral trabecular bone are advantageous, particularly considering the repetition, risks, and ethical issues involved in using real bone from cadaveric specimens. A cubic specimen with a side length of 6.5 mm or a cylindrical specimen with a 7 mm diameter and 5 mm length proved better than a universal cubic specimen with a side length of 4 mm for the evaluation of elastic mechanical characteristics of vertebral trabecular bones through experimental and simulated compression tests. The results from the experimental compression tests of RP models closely matched those predicted by the FE models, and thus provided substantive corroboration of all three approaches (experimental tests using RP models and simulated tests using FE models with ABS and trabecular bone material properties). The RP technique combined with FE analysis has potential for widespread biomechanical use, such as the fabrication of dummy human skeleton systems for the investigation of elastic mechanical characteristics of various bones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)657-664
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Mechanics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jan 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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