, Volume 37, Issue 6, pp 1117-1130
Date: 08 Apr 2009

A Constitutive Model of Soft Tissue: From Nanoscale Collagen to Tissue Continuum

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Abstract

Soft collagenous tissue features many hierarchies of structure, starting from tropocollagen molecules that form fibrils, and proceeding to a bundle of fibrils that form fibers. Here we report the development of an atomistically informed continuum model of collagenous tissue. Results from full atomistic and molecular modeling are linked with a continuum theory of a fiber-reinforced composite, handshaking the fibril scale to the fiber and continuum scale in a hierarchical multi-scale simulation approach. Our model enables us to study the continuum-level response of the tissue as a function of cross-link density, making a link between nanoscale collagen features and material properties at larger tissue scales. The results illustrate a strong dependence of the continuum response as a function of nanoscopic structural features, providing evidence for the notion that the molecular basis for protein materials is important in defining their larger-scale mechanical properties.