A comparison of hyperelastic constitutive models applicable to brain and fat tissues

J R Soc Interface. 2015 Sep 6;12(110):0486. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2015.0486.


In some soft biological structures such as brain and fat tissues, strong experimental evidence suggests that the shear modulus increases significantly under increasing compressive strain, but not under tensile strain, whereas the apparent Young's elastic modulus increases or remains almost constant when compressive strain increases. These tissues also exhibit a predominantly isotropic, incompressible behaviour. Our aim is to capture these seemingly contradictory mechanical behaviours, both qualitatively and quantitatively, within the framework of finite elasticity, by modelling a soft tissue as a homogeneous, isotropic, incompressible, hyperelastic material and comparing our results with available experimental data. Our analysis reveals that the Fung and Gent models, which are typically used to model soft tissues, are inadequate for the modelling of brain or fat under combined stretch and shear, and so are the classical neo-Hookean and Mooney-Rivlin models used for elastomers. However, a subclass of Ogden hyperelastic models are found to be in excellent agreement with the experiments. Our findings provide explicit models suitable for integration in large-scale finite-element computations.

Keywords: brain tissue; brain tumours; constitutive models; elastic moduli; fat tissue; large strain.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue*
  • Brain*
  • Elastic Modulus
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological*