Multiscale structure-functional modeling of musculoskeletal mineralized tissues

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Cooperation project with Darmstadt and Paris about musculoskeletal mineralized tissues

Musculoskeletal mineralized tissues (MMTs) are examples of natural materials achieving unique combinations of stiffness and strength. One of the striking features of MMTs is their ability to adapt to different functional demands by different structural arrangements of one common building block, the mineralized collagen fibril, at several levels of hierarchical organization.

In the first funding period, we have applied multi-scale (from the nanoscale to the macroscale) and multimodal techniques to assess structure, composition, and elastic properties of various MMTs. Based on these data we have developed mathematical models and corresponding homogenization tools, that allow to estimate the elastic properties at different length scales (microscale, mesoscale, macroscale). This enables to decouple characteristic structural features from material properties and hence to study their respective impacts on the elastic functional behaviour at each scale.

Within the second funding period we focus on the further improvement of the experimental techniques at the micron and submicron scales with the intention to increase the robustness of the experimental data. Moreover, we will systematically apply the models and computational tools to various MMTs and artificial hierarchical structures.

Our ultimate goals are to provide public access to validated data of MMTs at different scales and to dedicated modelling tools as well as to infer generalized construction rules for the in-silico design of hierarchically structured (biomimetic) composites with desired elastic properties.

Picture credit:
Raum K, Grimal Q, Laugier P, Gerisch A. Multiscale structure-functional modeling of lamellar bone. POMA Vol. 9, pp. 020005 (March 2011); (15 pages)