Below is one of our Graduates talking about their time at the Centre for Blast Injury studies and what they have gone on to do.
PhD Project Title: Structural Meso and Microscale Finite Element-Based Methods for the Prediction of Bone Architecture and Failure
Supervision: Structural Biomechanics Group
"My PhD project focused on designing and implementing phenomenological computational methods for the prediction of bone structural adaptation to loading as well as bone fracture. Most of the investigations were conducted using mechanical analyses of idealised structural finite elements at the mesoscale, with microscale information being integrated into the definition of the phenomenological algorithms. This type of modelling ensures good computational efficiency while maintaining suitable accuracy and resolution. Structural modelling is also particularly suited as input for additive manufacturing as the variations of mechanical properties are entirely defined by the organisation of material in the region of interest, as opposed to the spatially varying material properties involved in the continuum models above the microscale.
Collectively, the methods implemented in the project allow for the prediction of structural organisation in an entire long bone such as the femur or the tibia, including reorientation of trabecular elements based on microscale poroelastic simulations, prediction of bone fracture onset and progression until complete structural failure, as well as assessment of the influence of subject-specific activity regime and bone outer geometry on failure behaviour. Physical models were also produced using selective laser sintering based on the modelling results, for applications in testing of protective equipment mitigating trauma. Applications in the fields fracture prediction and mitigation under extreme loading, prosthetic design, and tissue engineering scaffolds are being considered.
Thanks to a Doctoral Prize Fellowship funding from EPSRC, I am now applying the simulation techniques developed during my PhD to implement a digital tool for the structural and geometrical optimisation of printable scaffold designs for bone tissue engineering. In addition to increased bone repair performance due to the additional design flexibility (accounting for arbitrary outer shape, spatially varying inner structure, topology, site of implantation) when compared to existing designs, this tool will simplify and encourage the use of optimal designs in practice by relieving the end-user, such as laboratories focused on in-vitro aspects of the research, or biotechnology companies with interest in scaffold manufacturing, of the computational modelling burden."