There is growing evidence that information on trabecular microarchitecture can improve the assessment of fracture risk. One current strategy is to exploit finite element (FE) analysis applied to experimental data of mechanically loaded single trabecular bone tissue obtained from non-invasive imaging techniques for the investigation of the damage initiation and growth of bone tissue. FE analysis of this type of bone has mainly focused on linear and non-linear analysis to evaluate the bone's failure properties. However, there is a lack of experimentally validated FE damage models at trabecular bone tissue level allowing for the simulation of the progressive damage process (initiation and growth) till complete fracture. Such models are needed to perform enhanced prediction of the apparent failure mechanical properties needed to assess the fracture risk of bone organs. In the current study, we develop a FE model based on a continuum damage mechanics (CDM) approach to simulate the damage initiation and propagation of a single trabecula till complete facture in quasi-static regime. Three-point bending experiments were performed on single bovine trabeculae and compared to FE results. In order to validate the proposed FE mode, (i) the force displacement curve was compared to the experimental one and (ii) the damage distribution was correlated to the measured one obtained by digital image correlation based on stress whitening in bone, reported to be correlated to microdamage. A very good agreement was obtained between the FE and experimental results, indicating that the proposed damage investigation protocol based on FE analysis and testing is reliable to assess the damage behavior of bone tissue and that the current damage model is able to accurately simulate the damaging and fracturing process of single trabeculae under quasi static load.
Keywords: Trabecular bone; Damage law; Finite element; Bending test; Stress whitening; Validation