Imperial College London

Claire Charlotte Villette

Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Honorary Research Associate







Skempton BuildingSouth Kensington Campus




PhD project in a nutshell

PhD project title: Structural Meso and Microscale Finite Element-Based Methods for the Prediction of Bone Architecture and Failure

This PhD project focuses on designing and implementing phenomenological computational methods for the prediction of bone structural adaptation to loading as well as bone failure. Most of the investigations are conducted using mechanical analyses of idealised structural finite elements at the mesoscale, with microscale information being integrated into the definition of the phenomenological algorithms. This type of modelling ensures good computational efficiency while maintaining suitable accuracy and resolution. Structural modelling is also particularly suited as input for additive manufacturing as the variations of mechanical properties are entirely defined by the organisation of material in the region of interest, as opposed to the spatially varying material properties involved in the continuum models above the microscale. 



Figure: Proximal frontal slice of the mesoscale structural model of the femur, color-coded to indicate which physical activity is primarily responsible for the element growth (red: walking, orange: stair ascent, yellow: stair descent, green:sit-to-stand, blue: stand-to-sit).

Collectively, the methods implemented in the project allow for the prediction of structural organisation in an entire long bone such as the femur or the tibia, including reorientation of trabecular elements based on microscale poroelastic simulations, prediction of bone fracture onset and progression until complete structural failure, as well as assessment of the influence of subject-specific activity regime and bone outer geometry on failure behaviour. Physical models are also produced using selective laser sintering based on the modelling results, for applications in testing of protective equipment  against trauma. Applications in the fields of prosthetic design and tissue engineering scaffolds are being considered.

Journal publications

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Villette CC, Phillips ATM, 2016, Informing phenomenological structural bone remodelling with a mechanistic poroelastic model, Biomechanics and Modeling In Mechanobiology, Vol:15, ISSN:1617-7959, Pages:69-82

Phillips ATM, Villette CC, Modenese L, 2015, Femoral bone mesoscale structural architecture prediction using musculoskeletal and finite element modelling, International Biomechanics, Vol:2, Pages:43-61

Prinold JA, Villette CC, Bull AM, 2013, The influence of extreme speeds on scapula kinematics and the importance of controlling the plane of elevation., Clin Biomech (bristol, Avon), Vol:28, Pages:973-980

Conference publications

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Villette CC, Phillips ATM, Predictive mesoscale structural modelling of bone informed by microscale poroelastic analyses, XXV congress of the International Society of Biomechanics (ISB 2015)

Zaharie D, Villette C, Phillips A, Frangible optimised lower limb surrogate for assessing inury caused by underbelly blast, XV International Symposium on Computer Simulation in Biomechanics 2015

Villette CC, Phillips ATM, Modenese L, Combined musculoskeletal and finite element predictive modelling of bone structure and simple fracture analysis, 12th international symposium on Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering 2014

Villette CC, Phillips ATM, Zaharie DT, Frangible optimised lower limb surrogate for assessing underbelly blast injury, International Research Council on Biomechanics of Injury 2014

Villette C.C., Modenese L., Phillips A.T.M, Combined finite element and musculoskeletal predictive structural modelling of the femur: Potential mechanobiology applications, 11th World Congress on Computational Mechanics 2014

Villette C.C., Phillips A.T.M, Towards a patient-specific combined musculoskeletal and finite element model of bone structure, 2nd UK Patient Specific Modelling Meeting - IPEM conferences 2014

Villette C.C., Phillips A.T.M, Combined predictive structural finite element and musculoskeletal modeling of bone structure for study of fracture under solid blast condition, IStructE Young Researchers' Conference 2014

Villette C.C., Thibon A., Modenese L., Phillips A.T.M, Combined Musculoskeletal and Finite Element Modelling of the FemurXXIV congress of the International Society of Biomechanics (ISB 2013)