Nanomechanical properties of mineralised collagen microfibrils based on finite elements method: biomechanical role of cross-links

Abdelwahed Barkaoui, Ridha Hambli
Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering 2014, 17 (14): 1590-601
Hierarchical structures in bio-composites such as bone tissue have many scales or levels and synergic interactions between the different levels. They also have a highly complex architecture in order to fulfil their biological and mechanical functions. In this study, a new three-dimensional (3D) model based on the finite elements (FEs) method was used to model the relationship between the hierarchical structure and the properties of the constituents at the sub-structure scale (mineralised collagen microfibrils) and to investigate their apparent nanomechanical properties. The results of the proposed FE simulations show that the elastic properties of microfibrils depend on different factors such as the number of cross-links, the mechanical properties and the volume fraction of phases. The results obtained under compression loading at a small deformation < 2% show that the microfibrils have a Young's modulus (Ef) ranging from 0.4 to 1.16 GPa and a Poisson's ratio ranging from 0.26 to 0.3. These results are in excellent agreement with experimental data (X-ray, AFM and MEMS) and molecular simulations.

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