A new model to simulate the elastic properties of mineralized collagen fibril

Fang Yuan, Stuart R Stock, Dean R Haeffner, Jonathan D Almer, David C Dunand, L Catherine Brinson
Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology 2011, 10 (2): 147-60
Bone, because of its hierarchical composite structure, exhibits an excellent combination of stiffness and toughness, which is due substantially to the structural order and deformation at the smaller length scales. Here, we focus on the mineralized collagen fibril, consisting of hydroxyapatite plates with nanometric dimensions aligned within a protein matrix, and emphasize the relationship between the structure and elastic properties of a mineralized collagen fibril. We create two- and three-dimensional representative volume elements to represent the structure of the fibril and evaluate the importance of the parameters defining its structure and properties of the constituent mineral and collagen phase. Elastic stiffnesses are calculated by the finite element method and compared with experimental data obtained by synchrotron X-ray diffraction. The computational results match the experimental data well, and provide insight into the role of the phases and morphology on the elastic deformation characteristics. Also, the effects of water, imperfections in the mineral phase and mineral content outside the mineralized collagen fibril upon its elastic properties are discussed.

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