Computational models of the brain require accurate and robust constitutive models to characterize the mechanical behavior of brain tissue. The anisotropy of white matter has been previously demonstrated; however, there is a lack of data describing the effects of multi-axial loading, even though brain tissue experiences multi-axial stress states. Therefore, a biaxial tensile experiment was designed to more fully characterize the anisotropic behavior of white matter in a quasi-static loading state, and the mechanical data were modeled with an anisotropic hyperelastic continuum model. A probabilistic analysis was used to quantify the uncertainty in model predictions because the mechanical data of brain tissue can show a high degree of variability, and computational studies can benefit from reporting the probability distribution of model responses. The axonal structure in white matter can be heterogeneous and regionally dependent, which can affect computational model predictions. Therefore, corona radiata and corpus callosum regions were tested, and histology and transmission electron microscopy were performed on tested specimens to relate the distribution of axon orientations and the axon volume fraction to the mechanical behavior. These measured properties were implemented into a structural constitutive model. Results demonstrated a significant, but relatively low anisotropic behavior, yet there were no conclusive mechanical differences between the two regions tested. The inclusion of both biaxial and uniaxial tests in model fits improved the accuracy of model predictions. The mechanical anisotropy of individual specimens positively correlated with the measured axon volume fraction, and, accordingly, the structural model exhibited slightly decreased uncertainty in model predictions compared to the model without structural properties.
Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials – Elsevier
Published: Sep 1, 2016
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