Motivated by the role of damage in normal and pathological conditions of trabecular bone, a novel 3D constitutive law was developed that describes anisotropic elasticity and the rate-independent degradation in mechanical properties resulting from the growth of cracks or voids in the trabecular tissue. The theoretical model was formulated within the framework of continuum damage mechanics and based on two fabric tensors characterizing the local trabecular morphology. Experimental validation of the model was achieved by uniaxial and torsional testing of waisted bovine trabecular bone specimens. Strong correlations were found between cumulated permanent strain, reduction in elastic moduli and nonlinear postyield stress which support the hypothesis that these variables reflect the same underlying damage process.
Keywords: Constitutive law; damage; mechanical properties; trabecular bone; yield