Design and numerical implementation of a 3-D non-linear viscoelastic constitutive model for brain tissue during impact

J Biomech. 2004 Jan;37(1):127-34. doi: 10.1016/s0021-9290(03)00243-4.


Finite Element (FE) head models are often used to understand mechanical response of the head and its contents during impact loading in the head. Current FE models do not account for non-linear viscoelastic material behavior of brain tissue. We developed a new non-linear viscoelastic material model for brain tissue and implemented it in an explicit FE code. To obtain sufficient numerical accuracy for modeling the nearly incompressible brain tissue, deviatoric and volumetric stress contributions are separated. Deviatoric stress is modeled in a non-linear viscoelastic differential form. Volumetric behavior is assumed linearly elastic. Linear viscoelastic material parameters were derived from published data on oscillatory experiments, and from ultrasonic experiments. Additionally, non-linear parameters were derived from stress relaxation (SR) experiments at shear strains up to 20%. The model was tested by simulating the transient phase in the SR experiments not used in parameter determination (strains up to 20%, strain rates up to 8s(-1)). Both time- and strain-dependent behavior were predicted accurately (R2>0.96) for strain and strain rates applied. However, the stress was overestimated systematically by approximately 31% independent of strain(rate) applied. This is probably caused by limitations of the experimental data at hand.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Brain Injuries / etiology
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Elasticity
  • Head Injuries, Closed / complications
  • Head Injuries, Closed / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Nonlinear Dynamics*
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Viscosity