Extracting accurate strain measurements in bone mechanics: A critical review of current methods

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Osteoporosis related fractures are a social burden that advocates for more accurate fracture prediction methods. Mechanistic methods, e.g. finite element models, have been proposed as a tool to better predict bone mechanical behaviour and strength. However, there is little consensus about the optimal constitutive law to describe bone as a material. Extracting reliable and relevant strain data from experimental tests is of fundamental importance to better understand bone mechanical properties, and to validate numerical models.

Several techniques have been used to measure strain in experimental mechanics, with substantial differences in terms of accuracy, precision, time- and length-scale. Each technique presents upsides and downsides that must be carefully evaluated when designing the experiment. Moreover, additional complexities are often encountered when applying such strain measurement techniques to bone, due to its complex composite structure.

This review of literature examined the four most commonly adopted methods for strain measurements (strain gauges, fibre Bragg grating sensors, digital image correlation, and digital volume correlation), with a focus on studies with bone as a substrate material, at the organ and tissue level. For each of them the working principles, a summary of the main applications to bone mechanics at the organ- and tissue-level, and a list of pros and cons are provided.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Mechanical Engineering


  • Digital volume correlation, Digital image correlation, Fibre Bragg grating, Strain gages, Strain gauges, Validation, Femur, Bone mechanics, Strain
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-54
JournalJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch

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