Improving the Validation of Finite Element Models with Quantitative Full-Field Strain Comparisons

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Finite element analysis (FEA), Digital speckle pattern interferometry (DSPI), Human, Mandible, Bone strain

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The techniques used to validate finite element (FE) models against experimental results have changed little during the last decades, even though the traditional approach of using single point measurements from strain gauges has major limitations: the strain distribution across the surface is not captured and the accurate determination of strain gauge positions on the model surface is difficult if the 3D surface topography of the bone surface is not measured. The full-field strain measurement technique of digital speckle pattern interferometry (DSPI) can overcome these problems, but the potential of this technique has not yet been fully exploited in validation studies. Here we explore new ways of quantifying and visualising the variation in strain magnitudes and orientations within and between repeated DSPI measurements as well as between the DSPI measurements and FEA results. We show that our approach provides a much more comprehensive and accurate validation than traditional methods. The measurement repeatability and the correspondence between measured and predicted strains vary to a great degree within and between measurement areas. The two models used in this study predict the measured strain directions and magnitudes surprisingly well considering that homogeneous and isotropic mechanical properties were assigned to the models. However, the full-field comparisons also reveal some discrepancies between measured and predicted strains that are most probably caused by inaccuracies in the models' geometries and the degree of simplification of the modelled material properties.

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Journal of Biomechanincs, v. 45, issue 8, p. 1498-1506