Cancellous bone yield strain has been reported in the literature to be relatively constant and independent from microstructure and apparent density, while fracture strain shows higher scattering. The objective of this work is to assess this hypothesis, characterizing the compression fracture in cancellous bone from a numerical approach and relating it to morphological parameters. Quasi-static compression fractures of cancellous bone samples are modeled using high-resolution image-based finite elements, correlating the numerical models and experimental results. The yield strain and the strain at fracture are inferred from the micro-CT-based finite element models by inverse analysis. The validation of the fracture models is carried out through digital image correlation (DIC). To develop this work, cancellous bone parallelepiped-shaped specimens were prepared and micro-CT scanned at 22 μm spatial resolution. A morphometric analysis was carried out for each specimen in order to characterize its microstructure. Quasi-static compression tests were conducted, recording the force-displacement response and a sequence of images during testing for the application of the DIC technique. This was applied without the need of a speckle pattern benefiting from the irregular microstructure of cancellous bone. The finite element models are also used to simulate the local fracture of trabeculae at the micro level using a combination of continuum damage mechanics and the element deletion technique. Equivalent strain, computed both from DIC and micro-FE, was the best predictor of the compression fracture pattern. The procedure followed in this work permits the estimation of failure parameters that are difficult to measure experimentally, which can be used in numerical models.
Keywords: Compression fracture characterization; Cancellous bone; Digital image correlation; Micro-FE