Table of Contents
ISRN Mechanical Engineering
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 501719, 6 pages
Research Article

Photoelastic and Finite Element Stress Analysis of the Gap between the L4 and L5 Vertebrae

1Department of Biomechanics, Medicine and Rehabilitation of the Locomotor Apparatus, Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirao Preto, University of Sao Paulo, Bandeirantes Avenue 3900, 14049-900 Ribeirao Preto, SP, Brazil
2Department of Physiotherapy, Federal University of Triangulo Mineiro, Getulio Guarita Avenue 159, 38024-440 Uberaba, MG, Brazil
3Department of Mechanical Engineering, Federal University of Triangulo Mineiro, Doutor Randolfo Borges Junior Avenue 1250, 38064-200 Uberaba, MG, Brazil
4Laboratory of Mechanical Projects Professor Henner Alberto Gomide, School of Mechanical Engineering of Federal University of Uberlandia, Joao Naves de Avila Avenue 2160, 38400-089 Uberlandia, MG, Brazil

Received 2 December 2010; Accepted 3 January 2011

Academic Editor: C. Providakis

Copyright © 2011 Sarah Fakher Fakhouri et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The purpose of this study was to analyze the stresses on the intervertebral disc between vertebrae L4 and L5 when a compressive load is applied on vertebra L4 using the photoelasticity transmission technique and the finite element method. Nine photoelastic models were used and were divided into three groups. Each group was formed by three models, according to the localization of the sagittal cut on vertebrae L4-L5. Simulation was carried out using a load of 23 N. The fringe orders were assessed by points close to the edge of the intervertebral disc using the Tardy compensation method. The analyses using the photoelasticity technique and the model of the finite elements showed that the stress generated by the vertebrae on the intervertebral disc was higher in the posterolateral region. Thus, this region is more susceptible to pathologies such as hernia and disc degeneration.