Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Chemical and Biomedical Engineering

Major Professor

Don Hilbelink, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Les Piegl, Ph.D.

Committee Member

William Lee III, Ph.D., P.E.

Committee Member

Karl Muffly, Ph.D.


Quantitative Anatomy, Gluteus Minimus, COMSOL, Model Error


The purpose of this study is to determine if element decimation of a 3-D anatomical model affects the results of Finite Element Analysis (FEA). FEA has been increasingly applied to the biological and medical sciences. In order for an anatomical model to successfully run in FEA, the 3-D model’s complex geometry must be simplified, resulting in a loss of anatomical detail. The process of decimation reduces the number of elements within the structure and creates a simpler approximation of the model. Using the National Library of Medicine’s Visible Human Male dataset, a virtual 3-D representation of several structures of the hip were produced. The initial highest resolution model was processed through several levels of decimation. Each of these representative anatomical models were run in COMSOL 3.5a to measure the degree of displacement. These results were compared against the original model to determine what level of error was introduced due to model simplification.