On the use of machine learning techniques for the mechanical characterization of soft biological tissues

Int J Numer Method Biomed Eng. 2018 Oct;34(10):e3121. doi: 10.1002/cnm.3121. Epub 2018 Jul 12.


Motivated by the search for new strategies for fitting a material model, a new approach is explored in the present work. The use of numerical and complex algorithms based on machine learning techniques such as support vector machines for regression, bagged decision trees, and artificial neural networks is proposed for solving the parameter identification of constitutive laws for soft biological tissues. First, the mathematical tools were trained with analytical uniaxial data (circumferential and longitudinal directions) as inputs, and their corresponding material parameters of the Gasser, Ogden, and Holzapfel strain energy function as outputs. The train and test errors show great efficiency during the training process in finding correlations between inputs and outputs; besides, the correlation coefficients were very close to 1. Second, the tool was validated with unseen observations of analytical circumferential and longitudinal uniaxial data. The results show an excellent agreement between the prediction of the material parameters of the strain energy function and the analytical curves. Finally, data from real circumferential and longitudinal uniaxial tests on different cardiovascular tissues were fitted; thus, the material model of these tissues was predicted. We found that the method was able to consistently identify model parameters, and we believe that the use of these numerical tools could lead to an improvement in the characterization of soft biological tissues.

Keywords: artificial neural network; bagged decision trees; machine learning techniques; material properties; mechanical test; soft tissue; strain energy function; support vector machine; uniaxial test.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Vessels / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Machine Learning*
  • Models, Biological
  • Neural Networks, Computer
  • Stress, Mechanical*