An accurate, robust, and efficient finite element framework with applications to anisotropic, nearly and fully incompressible elasticity

Comput Methods Appl Mech Eng. 2022 Mar 31;394:114887. doi: 10.1016/j.cma.2022.114887. eCollection 2022 May 1.


Fiber-reinforced soft biological tissues are typically modeled as hyperelastic, anisotropic, and nearly incompressible materials. To enforce incompressibility a multiplicative split of the deformation gradient into a volumetric and an isochoric part is a very common approach. However, the finite element analysis of such problems often suffers from severe volumetric locking effects and numerical instabilities. In this paper, we present novel methods to overcome volumetric locking phenomena for using stabilized P1-P1 elements. We introduce different stabilization techniques and demonstrate the high robustness and computational efficiency of the chosen methods. In two benchmark problems from the literature as well as an advanced application to cardiac electromechanics, we compare the approach to standard linear elements and show the accuracy and versatility of the methods to simulate anisotropic, nearly and fully incompressible materials. We demonstrate the potential of this numerical framework to accelerate accurate simulations of biological tissues to the extent of enabling patient-specific parameterization studies, where numerous forward simulations are required.

Keywords: Anisotropic materials; Cardiac electromechanics; Quasi-incompressibility; Soft biological tissues; Stabilized finite element methods.