Finite element analysis (FEA): applying an engineering method to functional morphology in anthropology and human biology

Panagiotopoulou, O. (2009) Finite element analysis (FEA): applying an engineering method to functional morphology in anthropology and human biology. Annals of Human Biology, 36 5: 609-623. doi:10.1080/03014460903019879


Author Panagiotopoulou, O.
Title Finite element analysis (FEA): applying an engineering method to functional morphology in anthropology and human biology
Journal name Annals of Human Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0301-4460
1464-5033
Publication date 2009-01-01
Year available 2009
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1080/03014460903019879
Open Access Status
Volume 36
Issue 5
Start page 609
End page 623
Total pages 15
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Informa Healthcare
Language eng
Abstract A fundamental research question for morphologists is how morphological variation in the skeleton relates to function. Traditional approaches have advanced our understanding of form–function relationships considerably but have limitations. Strain gauges can only record strains on a surface, and the geometry of the structure can limit where they can be bonded. Theoretical approaches, such as geometric abstractions, work well on problems with simple geometries and material properties but biological structures typically have neither of these. Finite element analysis (FEA) is a method that overcomes these problems by reducing a complex geometry into a finite number of elements with simple geometries. In addition, FEA allows strain to be modelled across the entire surface of the structure and throughout the internal structure. With advances in the processing power of computers, FEA has become more accessible and as such is becoming an increasingly popular tool to address questions about form–function relationships in development and evolution, as well as human biology generally. This paper provides an introduction to FEA including a review of the sequence of steps needed for the generation of biologically accurate finite element models that can be used for the testing of biological and functional morphology hypotheses.
Keyword Functional morphology
Human biology
Form-function relationship
Finite element analysis (FEA)
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Grant ID MEST-CT2005-020601
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collection: School of Biomedical Sciences Publications
 
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