A Comparative Study of the Mechanical Response of Various Numerical Models of the Human Lumbar Intervertebral Disc

The present paper compares various numerical models which simulate the mechanical behaviour of the human lumbar intervertebral disc under static and time-varying uniaxial compressive loads, with the aid of the finite element method. Concerning the geometry and the mechanical properties of the disc, numerical values from the literature are adopted after suitable elaboration. All models consist of four distinct volumes, corresponding to the portions of the disc: The upper and lower endplates, the annulus and the nucleus. The differences between the models are focused to both the geometry of the various portions as well as to the mechanical behaviour of the material of each portion. The loads exerted simulate the typical daily activities of the human lumbar disc. The results of the analysis of all three models are in qualitative agreement with existing experimental data, with the most sophisticated one being closer to the reality.

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