Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Tarun Goswami (Advisor), Richard Laughlin (Committee Member), Jaime Ramirez-Vick (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering (MSBME)


The hierarchical structure of bone alone is not comprehensive enough to provide morphological explanation of how the size and arrangement of the trabeculae within cancellous bone affect load distribution, particularly concerning deterioration of bone in elderly patients. The collagen network and hydroxyapatite play a large role in defining the shape of trabeculae in cancellous bone despite that the arrangement and size is seemingly random. The growth of plates and rods in cancellous bone is mainly due to loading and stress lines within the bone, but mathematical predictive models can be developed using fractal analysis to show how bone may grow under different circumstances and what fractal density infers about the arrangement of the trabeculae as well as the strength of the bone, as fractal density is a better indicator of bone strength than bone mineral density. Using a micro-CT scan of the distal end of a human radius, the plate and rod quantity and length was measured along with the angles between the plates and rods. The volume fraction of plates and rods was calculated for each slice. The fractal density was analyzed using the box-counting method, and within this method, different combinations of scaling methods, grid placement, and rotation were utilized to see which was the most accurate. Relationships between the measured parameters were examined to see which had the greatest effect on the perceived strength of the bone.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Biomedical, Industrial & Human Factors Engineering

Year Degree Awarded