Linear poroelastic cancellous bone anisotropy: Trabecular solid elastic and fluid transport properties

Sean S. Kohles, Julie B. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


The mechanical performance of cancellous bone is characterized using experiments which apply linear poroelasticity theory. It is hypothesized that the anisotropic organization of the solid and pore volumes of cancellous bone can be physically characterized separately (no deformable boundary interactive effects) within the same bone sample. Due to its spongy construction, the in vivo mechanical function of cancellous or trabecular bone is dependent upon fluid and solid materials which may interact in a hydraulic, convective fashion during functional loading. This project provides insight into the organization of the tissue, i.e., the trabecular connectivity, by defining the separate nature of this biphasic performance. Previous fluid flow experiments [Kohles et al., 2001, Journal of Biomechanics, 34(11), pp. 1197-1202] describe the pore space via orthotropic permeability. Ultrasonic wave propagation through the trabecular network is used to describe the solid component via orthotropic elastic moduli and material stiffness coefficients. The linear poroelastic nature of the tissue is further described by relating transport (fluid flow) and elasticity (trabecular load transmission) during regression analysis. In addition, an empirical relationship between permeability and porosity is applied to the collected data. Mean parameters in the superior-inferior (SI) orientation of cubic samples (n =20) harvested from a single bovine distal femur were the largest (p < O.05) in comparison to medial-lateral (ML) and anterior-posterior (AP) orientations: Apparent elastic modulus (2,139 MPa), permeability, (4.65×10-10 m2), and material stiffness coefficient (13.6 GPa). A negative correlation between permeability as a predictor of structural elastic modulus supported a parametric relationship in the ML (R2=0.4793), AP (R2 =0.3018), and SI (R2 =0.6445) directions (p<0.05).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)521-526
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biomechanical Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Physiology (medical)


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