Artificial and synthetic skins are widely used in the medical field; used in applications ranging from skin grafts to suture training pads. There is a growing need for artificial skins with tunable properties. However, current artificial skins do not take into account the variability of mechanical properties between individual humans as well as the age-dependent properties of human skin. Furthermore, there has been little development in artificial skins based on these properties. Thus, the primary purpose of this research is to develop variable stiffness artificial skin samples using magnetorheological elastomers (MREs) whose properties that can be controlled using external magnetic fields. In this study, multiple MRE skin samples were fabricated with varying filler particle volume contents. Using a precision dynamic mechanical analyzer, a series of indenting experiments were performed on the samples to characterize their mechanical properties. The samples were tested using a spherical indenter that indented a total depth of 1 mm with a speed of 0.01 mm/s and unloaded at the same rate. The results show that the modulus or stiffness increases significantly as the iron percent (w/w) in the sample increases. Additionally, the stiffness of the sample increases proportional to the intensity of the applied external magnetic field. To assess the MRE samples’ variability of properties, the testing results were compared with in vivo human skin testing data. The results show the MRE samples are feasible to represent the age-dependent stiffness demonstrated in in vivo human skin testing. The MRE materials studied will be further studied as a variable-stiffness skin model in medical devices, such as radial pulse simulators.

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