Research Papers

FEBio: Finite Elements for Biomechanics

[+] Author and Article Information
Steve A. Maas, Benjamin J. Ellis

Department of Bioengineering, Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute,  University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Gerard A. Ateshian

Department of Mechanical Engineering,Department of Biomedical Engineering,  Columbia University, New York, NY 10027

Jeffrey A. Weiss1

Department of Bioengineering, Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute,  University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112jeff.weiss@utah.edu


Corresponding author.

J Biomech Eng 134(1), 011005 (Feb 09, 2012) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4005694 History: Received November 29, 2011; Revised December 16, 2011; Posted January 24, 2012; Published February 08, 2012; Online February 09, 2012

In the field of computational biomechanics, investigators have primarily used commercial software that is neither geared toward biological applications nor sufficiently flexible to follow the latest developments in the field. This lack of a tailored software environment has hampered research progress, as well as dissemination of models and results. To address these issues, we developed the FEBio software suite (http://mrl.sci.utah.edu/software/febio), a nonlinear implicit finite element (FE) framework, designed specifically for analysis in computational solid biomechanics. This paper provides an overview of the theoretical basis of FEBio and its main features. FEBio offers modeling scenarios, constitutive models, and boundary conditions, which are relevant to numerous applications in biomechanics. The open-source FEBio software is written in C++, with particular attention to scalar and parallel performance on modern computer architectures. Software verification is a large part of the development and maintenance of FEBio, and to demonstrate the general approach, the description and results of several problems from the FEBio Verification Suite are presented and compared to analytical solutions or results from other established and verified FE codes. An additional simulation is described that illustrates the application of FEBio to a research problem in biomechanics. Together with the pre- and postprocessing software PRE VIEW and POST VIEW , FEBio provides a tailored solution for research and development in computational biomechanics.

Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Simulation of uniaxial tension-compression material tests for the Mooney–Rivlin (top) and Ogden (bottom) constitutive models. There was excellent agreement between the analytical solutions and the predictions from FEBio for both constitutive equations.

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Figure 2

Confined compression creep testing of deformable porous media. (Top) Loading and boundary conditions for the confined compression creep simulation. (Bottom) Creep displacement as a function of time, calculated from the analytical solution and predicted by FEBio, showing the excellent agreement between the two results.

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Figure 3

Unconfined compression stress relaxation. (Top) Quarter-symmetry model used for the simulation with the free fluid flow through the outer boundaries indicated with arrows. (Bottom) Axial stress versus time calculated from the analytical solution and predicted by FEBio, showing the excellent agreement between the two results.

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Figure 4

Strip biaxial stretching of an elastic sheet with a circular hole. (Top) Quarter-symmetry model used for this simulation (A) and deformed configuration after applied strain (B). (Bottom) Total nodal reaction force versus percent elongation for FEBio, NIKE3D , and ABAQUS . FEBio and NIKE3D predicted identical results that were slightly different than ABAQUS due to the different algorithms used to enforce the material incompressibility.

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Figure 5

Geometrically nonlinear analysis of a cantilever beam. (Top) Cantilever beam in the undeformed and deformed configurations showing the beam length and deflection. (Bottom) End displacement versus percentage of applied load for the analytical solution and FEBio simulations using 100, 200, and 400 elements along the length of the beam. The beam deflection predicted by FEBio was nearly identical to the analytical solution when 400 elements were used to discretize the beam.

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Figure 6

Twisted ribbon test for shells. (Top) Model in the undeformed configuration with loading and boundary conditions indicated. (Bottom) Displacement of the outside corner node versus number of elements used to discretize the model. 2048 elements were needed to exactly match the analytical solution, but there was <2% difference when only half that many elements were used to discretize the model.

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Figure 7

Upsetting of an elastic billet. (Top) Quarter-symmetry model in the initial configuration (A); billet deformed until there is contact between the inner material of the billet and the rigid planes (B); and deformed billet with contact between the inner material and the rigid planes (C). (Bottom) Lateral displacement (bulge) versus percent compression for FEBio, NIKE3D , and ABAQUS . There was excellent agreement in the predicted results from all three FE codes for both the contact and noncontact versions of this problem.

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Figure 8

Crushing of a pipe. (Top, left) Quarter-symmetry model with rigid crushing planes and key dimensions shown. (Top, right) Pipe in the final crushed configuration. (Bottom) Rigid body reaction force versus percent applied displacement for the crushing planes. There was less than a 3% difference in the peak forces predicted by the three FE codes.

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Figure 9

Cartilage layer compressed by a flat, rigid, impermeable surface. (Top) Schematic of the model illustrating the boundary and loading conditions. (Middle) Radial stress versus percent thickness through the middle of the cartilage layer predicted by FEBio, NIKE3D , and ABAQUS . (Bottom) Circumferential stress versus percent thickness predicted by the three FE codes. The stresses predicted by FEBio and NIKE3D were nearly identical and the stresses predicted by ABAQUS were less than 3% different than the other codes.

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Figure 10

Validated model of the human inferior glenohumeral ligament, analyzed with FEBio. (A) Initial position of the model, showing the fine discretization of the shoulder capsule with shell elements. (BD) First principal Green–Lagrange strains at 33%, 66%, and 100% through the applied kinematics that simulated a clinical exam.




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