A new paper has been published in Paleontologia Electronica about material data in paleobiological models. Gil, Lluís, Marcé-Nogué, Jordi, and Sánchez, Montserrat. 2015. Insights into the controversy over materials data for the comparison of biomechanical performance in vertebrates. Palaeontologia Electronica 18.1.10A: 1-24. and can be found in the link: palaeo-electronica.org/content/2015/1095-controversy-in-materials-data. This paper has been published thanks to S. de Esteban (ICP, Barcelona) and Transmitting Science for the opportunity to teach “Introduction to Biomechanical Simulation” and, specifically, the students who attended in January 2014 when this issue was discussed and the seed of this paper started to grow
Mechanical comparison of different species is performed with the help of computational tools like Finite Element Analysis FEA. In palaeobiology it is common to consider bone like an isotropic material for simulations but often real data of bone materials is impossible to know. This work investigates the influence of choice of bone materials properties over the results of simulations, showing when and why the materials data are relevant and when the selection of these data becomes irrelevant. With a theoretical approach from continuum mechanics and with a practical example the relationship between material data and comparative metrics like stress, strains and displacements is discussed. When linear and elastic material properties are assumed in a comparative analysis, the effect of the elastic modulus of the material is irrelevant over stress patterns. This statement is true for homogeneous and inhomogeneous materials, in this last case the proportion between the different materials properties must kept constant. In the case of the strains and displacements, there is an inverse proportionality kept constant, between the values of the metrics and the changes in the elastic modulus. These properties allow comparative studies without considering the real elastic materials properties.