Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Biomedical Engineering

Major Professor

William E. Lee III, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Frank Vrionis, M.D.

Committee Member

Daniel Hess, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Piyush Koria, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Nathan Gallant, Ph.D.


Biomechanics, Finite element modeling, Medical Device, Nonlinear, Validation


Finite element analysis of the spine has become popular over the past several decades. However, the current studies often use minimal specimens for modeling. The purpose of this study was to validate and analyze multiple finite element models with data from in vivo experiments and other finite element studies before future investigations. This study developed eight (8) lumbar spine (L2-L5) finite element models followed by finite element analysis of simulated bending in the six (6) basic motions. CT scans were obtained from four (4) males and four (4) females between the ages of forty-four (44) and seventy-three (73) years old. The study preprocessed the CT scans and built finite element models to simulate the motions of flexion, extension, lateral bending, and axial rotation with preloads/torques that emulate physiological loading. The study analyzed vertebral rotation, facet forces, and intradiscal pressure in all loading directions and validated the data with other finite element analyses and in vivo experimental measurements in the literature. The study validated the intervertebral rotation, intradiscal pressure, and facet force results with results from the literature. The results of this study are consistent with other computation studies and include recommendations for future studies.

Included in

Biomechanics Commons