Determination and validation of the elastic moduli of small and complex biological samples : bone and keratin in bird beaks
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Faculty of Sciences. Physics
Engineering sciences. Technology
Journal of the Royal Society interface: physical and life sciences. - London
, p. 1381-1388
University of Antwerp
In recent years, there has been a surge in the development of finite-element (FE) models aimed at testing biological hypotheses. For example, recent modelling efforts suggested that the beak in Darwin's finches probably evolved in response to fracture avoidance. However, knowledge of the material properties of the structures involved is crucial for any model. For many biological structures, these data are not available and may be difficult to obtain experimentally given the complex nature of biological structures. Beaks are interesting as they appear to be highly optimized in some cases. In order to understand the biomechanics of this small and complex structure, we have been developing FE models that take into account the bilayered structure of the beak consisting of bone and keratin. Here, we present the results of efforts related to the determination and validation of the elastic modulus of bone and keratin in bird beaks. The elastic moduli of fresh and dried samples were obtained using a novel double-indentation technique and through an inverse analysis. A bending experiment is used for the inverse analysis and the validation of the measurements. The out-of-plane displacements during loading are measured using digital speckle pattern interferometry.