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Extrafibrillar matrix yield stress and failure envelopes for mineralised collagen fibril arrays

Speed A1Groetsch A1Schwiedrzik JJ2Wolfram U3.

J Mech Behav Biomed Mater. 2020 May;105:103563. doi: 10.1016/j.jmbbm.2019.103563. Epub 2019 Nov 29.



Bone metabolic diseases such as osteoporosis constitute a major socio-economic challenge. A detailed understanding of the structure-property relationships of bone’s underlying hierarchical levels has the potential to improve diagnosis and the ability to treat those diseases, especially with regards to the onset of failure. Therefore, elastic and yield properties of mineralised turkey leg tendon (MTLT), a mineralised tissue that is similar to bone but has a simpler multiscale structure, were investigated. Elastic properties were identified using a multiscale micromechanical model. The input parameters include constituent mechanical properties, volume fractions and inclusion aspect ratios and these were obtained from a wide variety of literature sources. The determined elastic properties were used to formulate micromechanically informed yield surfaces and to identify yield properties of MTLT at the nanometre length scale where failure is first reported to occur. This was done in conjunction with experimental results from the compression of micropillars extracted from individual mineralised collagen fibres. This data was then used to identify micromechanically informed failure envelopes. The shear yield stress of the extrafibrillar matrix, associated with interfibrillar sliding, was identified as 137.65 MPa. The ratio between tensile and compressive yield stress in the Drucker-Prager yield criterion was 0.65. For both criteria apparent yield stress of the mineralised collagen fibril decreased to 25.3-31.4% when varying fibril orientation from 0° to 90°. This study identified yield properties of extrafibrillar matrix using an aligned mineralised tissue. The ability to obtain yield stress data and unloading stiffness from micropillar compression tests of MTLT at the level of the mineralised collagen fibril array and downscaling these into the EM mitigates against possible errors associated with macroscopic stiffness predictions and proved to be an invaluable advantage compared to similar modelling approaches. Results may help to improve computational models that may then be used in pre-clinical testing or development of personalised treatment strategies.