Multiscale investigation of the elastic properties of human cortical bone measured by resonant ultrasound spectroscopy

Abstract : Bone as an important organ in human body is an extraordinary material which exhibits highly optimized properties, strong yet light weight, stiff yet flexible. Its distinct mechanical properties which fascinates not only scientists but also engineers are the results of the highly hierarchized and organized structure and the compositional properties spanning over several lengths from the nanoscale to the macroscale. Hence, a deep understanding of the parameters affecting bone mechanical behavior is necessary to better predict and treat bone diseases, improve orthopedic implants design, and engineer bio-inspired materials. In this work, a special focus is placed on human cortical bone elastic properties both at the millimeter and micrometer scales. Based on a multimodal approach (resonant ultrasound spectroscopy, synchrotron radiation micro-computed tomography, Fourier transform infrared microspectroscopy and biochemistry experiments) involving an exhaustive amount of microstructural and compositional properties, our results provide strong evidence that intra-cortical porosity and degree of mineralization are the most important determinants of bone stiffness at millimeter scale in an elderly population. Further, the other microstructure characteristics independent of porosity have non measurable effects on bone stiffness at this level. At the micrometer scale, a novel inverse homogenization approach is introduced in this work which can evaluate bone matrix anisotropic elastic properties with a good accuracy for all the stiffness constants. Based on the determined bone matrix elasticity data, we investigated the possible range of the magnitude of microstrain experienced by bone matrix. This work opens a way to better evaluate and understand bone mechanical behaviour at the micrometer level, such as the microstrain that can be sensed by osteocytes and builds the bridge to comprehensively investigate the connections between bone anisotropic properties at the millimeter and micrometer scale, and between the anisotropic microelastic properties and the characteristics at the nanometer scale.
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Xiran Cai. Multiscale investigation of the elastic properties of human cortical bone measured by resonant ultrasound spectroscopy. Acoustics [physics.class-ph]. Sorbonne Université, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018SORUS059⟩. ⟨tel-02144044⟩

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