The prevention of hip fracture is an important public health issue. This common injury has a profound economic and social impact on the health care system. To better understand the factors that influence femoral fracture and to be able to predict the loads required to fracture a femur, a combination of experimental and computational techniques will be employed. While computational methods could be employed to study those aspects of hip fracture etiology that relate to bone strength, global fracture prediction with the finite element method has received only limited attention, primarily because of the lack of verified failure theories to use in computational models. In particular, since local failure of trabecular bone is a key factor in global fracture processes and suitable, multi-axial failure theories for trabecular bone are not available, developing a validated model for trabecular bone failure would be a significant step toward the use of computational methods to predict fracture in the human skeleton. This project is designed to determine an appropriate failure criterion for trabecular bone and use that criterion to predict the failure load of trabecular bone under various loading environments. We will comprehensively evaluate several failure criteria and finite element modeling assumptions for predicting of bone failure starting with simple geometries and loads and progressing toward more complex shapes and loads. The testing will begin with cylindrical cores of trabecular bone under uniaxial loading and continue to the level of full human proximal femurs loaded to failure in a falling configuration. The knowledge gained in this study will improve the understanding of hip fracture etiology and allow further research toward isolating the factors which influence hip fracture risk.
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