Novel mathematical method called spectral measure method (SMM) is developed for characterization of bone structure and indirect estimation of bone properties. The spectral measure method is based on an inverse homogenization technique which allows to derive information about the structure of composite material from measured effective electric or viscoelastic properties. The mechanical properties and ability to withstand fracture depend on the structural organization of bone as a hierarchical composite. Information about the bone structural parameters is contained in the spectral measure in the Stieltjes integral representation of the effective properties. The method is based on constructing the spectral measure either by calculating it directly from micro-CT images or using measurements of electric or viscoelastic properties over a frequency range. In the present paper, we generalize the Stieltjes representation to the viscoelastic case and show how bone microstructure, in particular, bone volume or porosity, can be characterized by the spectral function calculated using measurements of complex permittivity or viscoelastic modulus. For validation purposes, we numerically simulated measured data using micro-CT images of cancellous bone. Recovered values of bone porosity are in excellent agreement with true porosity estimated from the micro-CT images. We also discuss another application of this method, which allows to estimate properties difficult to measure directly. The spectral measure method based on the derived Stieltjes representation for viscoelastic composites, has a potential for non-invasive characterization of bone structure using electric or mechanical measurements. The method is applicable to sea ice, porous rock, and other composite materials. ?? 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
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