Biofidelic soft composites– experimental and computational modeling

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Biofidelic soft composites or tissues form the building blocks of the human body. Understanding the complex mechanics of these soft composites is the key to understanding the genesis and progression of disease. Biomechanically, soft composites exhibit anisotropic mechanical behavior and comprise of multiple fiber layers within a soft matrix. To date, there is a lack of understanding of the anisotropic mechanical behavior of soft composites, primarily due to unavailability of a robust characterization framework. In this dissertation, novel multiscale computational and experimental investigation models are developed to simulate and characterize anisotropic soft composite mechanical behavior. Soft composite surrogates were first developed to simulate various tissues in the human body namely the skin, brain, artery and vaginal tissues. Novel anisotropic soft composite models were also fabricated taking into consideration the tissue anisotropy and multifunctional properties. Hyperelastic anisotropic constitutive relationships were formulated to precisely characterize the mechanical behavior of soft composite considering varying fiber and matrix contributions, fiber-matrix interactions, fiber orientations and multiple fiber layers. Coupled with high fidelity experimental and computational models, microscopy, and Digital Image Correlation (DIC) studies, the damage and repair of soft composite surrogates are also discussed in this dissertation, with relevance to soft tissue wounds and suture. Computational modeling to understand the interaction between multiple soft composite systems and its effect on soft composite damage are also highlighted in this work. Some specific soft composite interaction systems modeled were the female pelvic system under abdominal loads, whole body impact due to blast, and ulceration in diabetic foot. This dissertation lays the foundation for micro and macro scale anisotropic soft composite modeling and characterization using high fidelity experimental and numerical techniques which will be indispensable for studying tissue mechanics and other soft composite applications in engineering and medicine.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Biomechanics, Biomedical engineering