Research Papers

A Multilevel Hierarchical Finite Element Model for Capillary Failure in Soft Tissue

[+] Author and Article Information
Ian R. Grosse

Department of Mechanical and
Industrial Engineer,
University of Massachusetts,
160 Governor's Drive,
Amherst, MA 01003
e-mail: grosse@ecs.umass.edu

Lu Huang

Department of Mechanical and
Industrial Engineer,
University of Massachusetts,
160 Governor's Drive,
Amherst, MA 01003

Julian L. Davis

Department of Engineering,
University of Southern Indiana,
Evansville, IN 47712

Dennis Cullinane

Biomechanics Laboratory,
Deerfield Academy,
Deerfield, MA 01342

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received August 12, 2013; final manuscript received May 13, 2014; accepted manuscript posted May 23, 2014; published online June 11, 2014. Assoc. Editor: Guy M. Genin.

J Biomech Eng 136(8), 081010 (Jun 11, 2014) (8 pages) Paper No: BIO-13-1357; doi: 10.1115/1.4027730 History: Received August 12, 2013; Revised May 13, 2014; Accepted May 23, 2014

Bruising, the result of capillary failure due to trauma, is a common indication of abuse. However, the etiology of capillary failure has yet to be determined as the scale change from tissue to capillary represents several orders of magnitude. As a first step toward determining bruise etiology, we have developed a multilevel hierarchical finite element model (FEM) of a portion of the upper human arm using a commercial finite element tool and a series of three interconnected hierarchical submodels. The third and final submodel contains a portion of the muscle tissue in which a single capillary is embedded. Nonlinear, hyperelastic material properties were applied to skin, adipose, muscle, and capillary wall materials. A pseudostrain energy method was implemented to subtract rigid-body-like motion of the submodel volume experienced in the global model, and was critical for convergence and successful analyses in the submodels. The deformation and hoop stresses in the capillary wall were determined and compared with published capillary failure stress. For the dynamic load applied to the skin of the arm (physiologically simulating a punch), the model predicted that approximately 8% volume fraction of the capillary wall was above the reference capillary failure stress, indicating bruising would likely occur.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Cross section of global model. Top: image from Visible Human Project database and bottom: ansys model.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Global model and each submodel: (a) global model with first-level submodel, (b) first-level with second level submodel, (c) second level with third level submodel, and (d) third level submodel with embedded capillary

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Hoop stresses (in MPa) in the capillary wall in the third level submodel

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Results for the global model at 0.052 s. Top panel shows total deformation (in mm) and bottom panel shows maximum principal stresses (in MPa).



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