Living bone tissue, like many other connective tissues, is a structural material that adapts its form and microstructure to changing environmental loading conditions. Bone tissue adapts not only its shape, but also its density and the details of its microstructure including its anisotropy. The anisotropy of bone is adapted in both its degree or strength and in the orientation of its principal axes of symmetry. These adaptive features of bone tissue are often referred to as aspects of Wolff’s law, although, strictly speaking, the term “Wolff’s law” applies only to the structural adaptation of spongy or trabecular bone. In this paper the composition, microstructure, mechanical properties and structurally adaptive features of bone are briefly reviewed. An algebraic formulation of Wolff’s law at remodeling equilibrium is described, and the nature of an evolutionary Wolff’s law is sketched.

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