The mouse tibia is a common site to investigate bone adaptation. Micro-Finite Element (microFE) models based on micro-Computed Tomography (microCT) images can estimate bone mechanical properties non-invasively but their outputs need to be validated with experiments. Digital Volume Correlation (DVC) can provide experimental measurements of displacements over the whole bone volume. In this study we applied DVC to validate the local predictions of microFE models of the mouse tibia in compression. Six mouse tibiae were stepwise compressed within a microCT system. MicroCT images were acquired in four configurations with applied compression of 0.5 N (preload), 6.5 N, 13.0 N and 19.5 N. Failure load was measured after the last scan. A global DVC algorithm was applied to the microCT images in order to obtain the displacement field over the bone volume. Homogeneous, isotropic linear hexahedral microFE models were generated from the images collected in the preload configuration with boundary conditions interpolated from the DVC displacements at the extremities of the tibia. Experimental displacements from DVC and numerical predictions were compared at corresponding locations in the middle of the bone. Stiffness and strength were also estimated from each model and compared with the experimental measurements. The magnitude of the displacement vectors predicted by microFE models was highly correlated with experimental measurements (R2 >0.82). Higher but still reasonable errors were found for the Cartesian components. The models tended to overestimate local displacements in the longitudinal direction (R2 = 0.69-0.90, slope of the regression line=0.50-0.97). Errors in the prediction of structural mechanical properties were 14% ± 11% for stiffness and 9% ± 9% for strength. In conclusion, the DVC approach has been applied to the validation of microFE models of the mouse tibia. The predictions of the models for both structural and local properties have been found reasonable for most preclinical applications.
Keywords: DVC; MicroCT; MicroFE; Mouse tibia; Validation.
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