Finite element analysis of the cranium: Validity, sensitivity and future directions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle



Publication details

JournalComptes Rendus - Palevol
DateAccepted/In press - 7 Nov 2016
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 12 Jan 2017
Number of pages13
Early online date12/01/17
Original languageEnglish


Finite element analysis (FEA) is increasingly applied in skeletal biomechanical research in general, and in fossil studies in particular. Underlying such studies is the principle that FEA provides results that approximate reality. This paper provides further understanding of the reliability of FEA by presenting a validation study in which the deformations experienced by a real cadaveric human cranium are compared to those of an FE model of that cranium under equivalent simulated loading. Furthermore, model sensitivity to simplifications in segmentation and material properties is also assessed. Our results show that absolute deformations are not accurately predicted, but the distribution of the regions of relatively high and low strains, and so the modes of global deformation, are reasonably approximated.

Bibliographical note

© 2016, Academie des sciences.This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details

    Research areas

  • Finite element analysis, Geometric morphometrics, Sensitivity analysis, Validation study

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