The Compressive Mechanical Response of the Human Skull: Implementation of Morphology-Based Mechanical Deformation Model in a 3-D Finite-Element Simulation

Report No. ARL-TR-8675
Authors: Stephen L Alexander, C Allan Gunnarsson, Tusit Weerasooriya
Date/Pages: March 2019; 28 pages
Abstract: A power law relating the compressive initial modulus of adult human skull to the microstructure, specifically the bone volume fraction (BVF), was published in 2018 at the US Army Research Laboratory. In this current study, using the microstructurally inspired modulus relationship, a finite-element computational concept was developed to obtain the mechanical response of a skull coupon structure during compression. Using the local moduli of each element obtained from the power law with the measured local BVF, the ability to simulate a fully instrumented quasi-static compression experiment of a 3-D skull bone coupon was evaluated. Instead of explicitly meshing the internal porous microstructure, a simplistic mesh was used that was bounded by the outer geometry of the specimen. Therefore, elements represented both bone and pores, and a method was developed to calculate the BVF of the physical volume each element represented. Then, each element was assigned mechanical properties using the modulus–BVF relationship. The ability of the power-law-relationship-based simulation to replicate the experimentally measured linear stiffness and full-field surface strains was confirmed. This proposed procedure allows efficient computational simulation of mechanical loading of material with complex biological microstructures while also bridging the length scales from complex microstructural scale to meso-scale.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: March 1, 2019