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Soft Tissue Biomechanics

The soft tissues in our body are continuously engaged in mechanical interaction, with themselves but also with external devices. The latter may serve to protect (e.g. a helmet), repair (e.g. surgical instruments) or replace (e.g. prostheses) our tissues. Profound knowledge on the mechanical behavior of these tissues and their interactions is essential to optimize the design of these external devices, and to understand pathologies that originate from unphysiological mechanical loading.

The Soft Tissue Biomechanics group focuses on the biomechanical characterization of biological soft tissue, a.o. arteries, veins, brain soft tissue and cartilage. This involves experimental testing (mechanical, functional and histological), and the development of mathematical descriptions (both constitutive modeling and finite element modeling) of the observed behavior.

This knowledge is put to use in multiple clinical applications, such as trauma prevention in (robotic) surgery, safer bicycle helmet design and optimal treatment for cartilage repair in the tibio-femoral joint.

A key element in our group is that we always aim at closing the loop. A model of a certain tissue is only as valuable as the quality of the material parameters that can be defined for it. Hence, modeling, experimental testing and validation, should always go hand in hand.





Image: Research aspects of the soft tissue biomechanics group. (sources: Famaey2012, FP7 SCATh AAA model, nephrectomy, KTH FE head model)