Mechanical properties of bones are largely determined by their microstructure. The latter comprises a large number of diverse pores. The present paper analyzes a connection between structure of the porous space of the osteonal cortical bone and bone's overall anisotropic elastic moduli. The analysis is based on recent developments in the theory of porous materials that predict the anisotropic effective moduli of porous solids in terms of pores’ shapes, orientations and densities. Bone's microstructure is modeled using available micrographs. The calculated anisotropic elastic constants for porous cortical bone are, mostly, in agreement with available experimental data. The influence of each of the pore types on the overall moduli is examined. The results of the analysis can also be used to estimate the extent of mineralization (hydroxyapatite content) if the overall porosity and the effective moduli are known and, vice versa, to estimate porosity from the measured moduli and the extent of mineralization.
Keywords: Cortical bone; Anisotropy; Microstructure; Elastic moduli