Effect of Tissue Material Properties in Blast Loading: Coupled Experimentation and Finite Element Simulation

Molly Townsend, Eren Alay, Maciej Skotak, Namas Chandra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Computational models of blast-induced traumatic brain injury (bTBI) require a robust definition of the material models of the brain. The mechanical constitutive models of these tissues are difficult to characterize, leading to a wide range of values reported in literature. Therefore, the sensitivity of the intracranial pressure (ICP) and maximum principal strain to variations in the material model of the brain was investigated through a combined computational and experimental approach. A finite element model of a rat was created to simulate a shock wave exposure, guided by the experimental measurements of rats subjected to shock loading conditions corresponding to that of mild traumatic brain injury in a field-validated shock tube. In the numerical model, the properties of the brain were parametrically varied. A comparison of the ICP measured at two locations revealed that experimental and simulated ICP were higher in the cerebellum (p < 0.0001), highlighting the significance of pressure sensor locations within the cranium. The ICP and strain were correlated with the long-term bulk (p < 0.0001) and shear moduli (p < 0.0001), with an 80 MPa effective bulk modulus value matching best with experimental measurements. In bTBI, the solution is sensitive to the brain material model, necessitating robust validation methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2019-2032
Number of pages14
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 15 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomedical Engineering


  • Brain properties
  • Intracranial pressure
  • Shock wave


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