Computational Simulations of Bone Remodeling under Natural Mechanical Loading or Muscle Malfunction Using Evolutionary Structural Optimization Method


Live bone inherently responds to applied mechanical stimulus by altering its internal tissue composition and ultimately biomechanical properties, structure and function. The final formation may structurally appear inferior by design but complete by function. To understand the loading response, this paper numerically investigated structural remodeling of mature sheep femur using evolutionary structural optimization method (ESO). Femur images from Computed Tomography scanner were used to determine the elastic modulus variation and subsequently construct finite element model of the femur with stiffest elasticity measured. Major muscle forces on dominant phases of healthy sheep gait were imposed on the femur under static mode. ESO was applied to progressively alter the remodeling of numerically simulated femur from its initial to final design by iteratively removing elements with low strain energy density (SED). The computations were repeated with two different mesh sizes to test the convergence. The elements within the medullary canal had low SEDs and therefore were removed during the optimization. The SEDs in the remaining elements varied with angle around the circumference of the shaft. Those elements with low SED were inefficient in supporting the load and thus fundamentally explained how bone remodels itself with less stiff inferior tissue to meet load demand. This was in line with the Wolff’s law of transformation of bone. Tissue growth and remodeling process was found to shape the sheep femur to a mechanically optimized structure and this was initiated by SED in macro-scale according to traditional principle of Wolff’s law.

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Latifi, H. , Xie, Y. , Huang, X. and Bilgen, M. (2014) Computational Simulations of Bone Remodeling under Natural Mechanical Loading or Muscle Malfunction Using Evolutionary Structural Optimization Method. Engineering, 6, 113-126. doi: 10.4236/eng.2014.63015.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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