Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 47, Issue 9, pp 2019–2032 | Cite as

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

  • Molly T. Townsend
  • Eren Alay
  • Maciej Skotak
  • Namas ChandraEmail author
State-of-the-Art Modeling and Simulation of the Brain's Response to Mechanical Loads


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.


Shock wave Intracranial pressure Brain properties 



This work was supported by Grant No. 14059001 (W81XWH-15-1-0303) under the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command. Authors acknowledge the assistance of Dr. Saikat Pal with proof reading, Debrina Roy in model development, and Dr. Raj Gupta in theoretical discussions.

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts to disclose.

Supplementary material

10439_2018_2178_MOESM1_ESM.tif (157 kb)
Figure S1 The experimental incident pressure measurements (mean ± one standard deviation, n=4) were compared to the simulated incident pressure measurement at the location at which the Lagrangian part instance was placed (TIFF 157 kb)


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Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Molly T. Townsend
    • 1
  • Eren Alay
    • 1
  • Maciej Skotak
    • 1
  • Namas Chandra
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Biomedical Engineering DepartmentNew Jersey Institute of TechnologyNewarkUSA

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