Morphology-elasticity relationships using decreasing fabric information of human trabecular bone from three major anatomical locations

Thomas Gross*, Dieter H. Pahr, Philippe K. Zysset

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

51 Citations (Scopus)


With improving clinical CT scanning technology, the accuracy of CT-based finite element (FE) models of the human skeleton may be ameliorated by an enhanced description of apparent level bone mechanical properties. Micro-finite element (μFE) modeling can be used to study the apparent elastic behavior of human cancellous bone. In this study, samples from the femur, radius and vertebral body were investigated to evaluate the predictive power of morphology-elasticity relationships and to compare them across different anatomical regions. μFE models of 701 trabecular bone cubes with a side length of 5.3 mm were analyzed using kinematic boundary conditions. Based on the FE results, four morphology-elasticity models using bone volume fraction as well as full, limited or no fabric information were calibrated for each anatomical region. The 5 parameter Zysset-Curnier model using full fabric information showed excellent predictive power with coefficients of determination (radj2) of 0.98, 0.95 and 0.94 of the femur, radius and vertebra data, respectively, with mean total norm errors between 14 and 20%. A constant orthotropy model and a constant transverse isotropy model, where the elastic anisotropy is defined by the model parameters, yielded coefficients of determination between 0.90 and 0.98 with total norm errors between 16 and 25%. Neglecting fabric information and using an isotropic model led to r adj2 between 0.73 and 0.92 with total norm errors between 38 and 49%. A comparison of the model regressions revealed minor but significant (p<0.01) differences for the fabric-elasticity model parameters calibrated for the different anatomical regions. The proposed models and identified parameters can be used in future studies to compute the apparent elastic properties of human cancellous bone for homogenized FE models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)793-800
Number of pages8
JournalBiomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Elasticity
  • Fabric
  • Finite element method
  • Human cancellous bone
  • Mechanical properties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Mechanical Engineering


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