The mechanics of soft biological composites.
The mechanics of soft biological composites. Biological tissues are uniquely structured materials with technologically appealing properties. Soft tissues such as skin, are constructed from a composite of strong fibrils and fluid-like matrix components. This was the first coordinated experimental/modeling project at Sandia or in the open literature to consider the mechanics of micromechanically-based anisotropy and viscoelasticity of soft biological tissues. We have exploited and applied Sandia's expertise in experimentation and mechanics modeling to better elucidate the behavior of collagen fibril-reinforced soft tissues. The purpose of this project was to provide a detailed understanding of the deformation of ocular tissues, specifically the highly structured skin-like tissue in the cornea. This discovery improved our knowledge of soft/complex materials testing and modeling. It also provided insight into the way that cornea tissue is bio-engineered such that under physiologically-relevant conditions it has a unique set of properties which enhance functionality. These results also provide insight into how non-physiologic loading conditions, such as corrective surgeries, may push the cornea outside of its natural design window, resulting in unexpected non-linear responses. Furthermore, this project created a clearer understanding of the mechanics of soft tissues that could lead to bio-inspired materials, such as highly supple and impact resistant body armor, and improve our more »
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