Sensitivity analysis for finite element modeling of humeral bone and cartilage

  • Bola, Ana M. (Biomechanics Research Group, TEMA, University of Aveiro) ;
  • Ramos, A. (Biomechanics Research Group, TEMA, University of Aveiro) ;
  • Simoes, J.A (High School of Arts and Design, Avenida Calouste Gulbenkian)
  • Received : 2016.01.10
  • Accepted : 2016.03.29
  • Published : 2016.06.25


The finite element method is wide used in simulation in the biomechanical structures, but a lack of studies concerning finite element mesh quality in biomechanics is a reality. The present study intends to analyze the importance of the mesh quality in the finite element model results from humeral structure. A sensitivity analysis of finite element models (FEM) is presented for the humeral bone and cartilage structures. The geometry of bone and cartilage was acquired from CT scan and geometry reconstructed. The study includes 54 models from same bone geometry, with different mesh densities, constructed with tetrahedral linear elements. A finite element simulation representing the glenohumeral-joint reaction force applied on the humerus during $90^{\circ}$ abduction, with external load as the critical condition. Results from the finite element models suggest a mesh with 1.5 mm, 0.8 mm and 0.6 mm as suitable mesh sizes for cortical bone, trabecular bone and humeral cartilage, respectively. Relatively to the higher minimum principal strains are located at the proximal humerus diaphysis, and its highest value is found at the trabecular bone neck. The present study indicates the minimum mesh size in the finite element analyses in humeral structure. The cortical and trabecular bone, as well as cartilage, may not be correctly represented by meshes of the same size. The strain results presented the critical regions during the $90^{\circ}$ abduction.


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