Fiber-based modeling and simulation of skeletal muscles

M. H. Gfrerer*, B. Simeon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents a novel fiber-based muscle model for the forward dynamics of the musculoskeletal system. While bones are represented by rigid bodies, the muscles are taken into account by means of one-dimensional cables that obey the laws of continuum mechanics. In contrast to standard force elements such as the Hill-type muscle model, this approach is close to the real physiology and also avoids the issue of wobbling masses. On the other hand, the computational cost is rather low in comparison with full 3D continuum mechanics simulations. The cable model includes sliding contact between individual fibers as well as between fibers and bones. For the discretization, cubic finite elements are employed in combination with implicit time stepping. Several validation studies and the simulation of a motion scenario for the upper limb demonstrate the potential of the fiber-based approach.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMultibody System Dynamics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Cable model
  • Contact
  • Forward-dynamics simulation
  • Skeletal muscle mechanics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Control and Optimization

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