Scaling in biomechanical experimentation: a finite similitude approach

Raul Ochoa-cabrero, Teresa Alonso-rasgado, Keith Davey

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    Biological experimentation has many obstacles: resource limitations, unavailability of materials, manufacturing complexities and ethical compliance issues; any approach that resolves all or some of these is of some interest. The aim of this study is applying the recently discovered concept of finite similitude as a novel approach for the design of scaled biomechanical experiments supported with analysis using a commercial finite-element package and validated by means of image correlation software. The study of isotropic scaling of synthetic bones leads to the selection of three-dimensional (3D) printed materials for the trial-space materials. These materials conforming to the theory are analysed in finite-element models of a cylinder and femur geometries undergoing compression, tension, torsion and bending tests to assess the efficacy of the approach using reverse scaling of the approach. The finite-element results show similar strain patterns in the surface for the cylinder with a maximum difference of less than 10% and for the femur with a maximum difference of less than 4% across all tests. Finally, the trial-space, physical-trial experimentation using 3D printed materials for compression and bending testing provides a good agreement in a Bland–Altman statistical analysis, providing good supporting evidence for the practicality of the approach.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)20180254
    JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
    Issue number143
    Early online date13 Jun 2018
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


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