Biomechanical response of human liver in tensile loading

Ann Adv Automot Med. 2010;54:15-26.


Motor vehicle collisions commonly result in serious life threatening liver injuries. Although finite element models are becoming an integral tool in the reduction of automotive related liver injuries, the establishment of accurate material models and tissue level tolerance values is critical for accurate injury risk assessment. This study presents a total of 51 tension tests performed on human liver parenchyma at various loading rates in order to characterize the viscoelastic and failure properties of human liver. Standard dog-bone coupons were obtained from fresh human livers and tested within 48 hours of death. Each coupon was tested once to failure at one of four loading rates (0.008 s(-1), 0.089 s(-1), 0.871 s(-1), and 9.477 s(-1)) to investigate the effects of rate dependence. Load and acceleration data were obtained from each of the specimen grips. High-speed video and optical markers placed on the specimens were used to measure local displacement. Failure stress and strain were calculated at the location of failure in the gage length of the coupon. The results of the study showed that liver parenchyma is rate dependent, with higher rate tests giving higher failure stresses and lower failure strains. The failure strains for all tests ranged from 11% to 54% and the failure stresses ranged from 7 kPa to 95 kPa. This study provides novel biomechanical data that can be used in the development of both rate dependent material models and tissue level tolerance values critical for the validation of finite element models used to assess injury risk in automobile collisions.

MeSH terms

  • Acceleration
  • Accidents, Traffic
  • Animals
  • Automobiles*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Humans
  • Liver*
  • Models, Theoretical