Hierarchical modelling and X-ray analysis of human dentine and enamel

Tan Sui, Michael A. Sandholzer, Nikolaos Baimpas, Alexander J.G. Lunt, Igor P. Dolbnya, Jianan Hu, Anthony D. Walmsley, Philip J. Lumley, Gabriel Landini, Alexander M. Korsunsky*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Human teeth consist of enamel, dentine and cementum, hierarchical mineralised tissues with a two-level composite structure. The understanding of the mechanical behaviour of dentine and enamel in terms of their micro- and nano-scale structure has been somewhat limited. Here we present an overview of our recent work aimed at improving the understanding of the internal lattice strain response of the mineral crystallites of different orientations under external in situ loading. A range of experimental techniques was employed for the purpose of this analysis. Small- and Wide- Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS/WAXS) were used to determine the internal lattice strain and orientational distribution of HAp crystals, while quantitative stress distribution evaluation in the birefringent mounting epoxy surrounding the sample was carried out in parallel using photoelasticity. Finite element analysis and advanced multi-scale Eshelby inclusion modelling were used to interpret the data. The satisfactory agreement achieved between the model and the experimental data, in terms of the values of multi-directional strain components under the action of differently orientated loads, demonstrates that our multi-scale approach captures successfully the structure-property relationships between the hierarchical architecture of human dental tissues and their response to the applied forces. Our systematic approach can be used to improve the insight into the mechanical properties of dentine and enamel, and of textured hierarchical biomaterials (such as bones) in general.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)524-528
Number of pages5
JournalLecture Notes in Engineering and Computer Science
Issue numberJanuary
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventInternational MultiConference of Engineers and Computer Scientists, IMECS 2014 - Kowloon, Hong Kong
Duration: 12 Mar 201414 Mar 2014


  • Dental tissues
  • Multi-scale modelling
  • Small- and wide angle X-ray scattering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)


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