Modelling skin viscoelasticity


Skin is the largest organ of the human body and functions as a barrier with the external environment. However, the mechanical balance of the skin can be threatened. Therefore, skin mechanics is important for various fields of research. This includes research into the development of pressure ulcers and the interaction between skin and devices or materials. For this research, prediction of mechanical response of skin is essential.
Skin is a three-layered tissue that has non-linear viscoelastic, anisotropic and heterogeneous properties. From a mechanical point of view, however, skin should be considered as a highly dynamic and complex composite. Because of this complexity, its mechanical response is difficult to understand and predict. Therefore we developed a constitutive 3D finite element material model in Marc/Mentat that is based on experimental evidence and captures the complex material properties of skin.
Although the overall non-linear viscoelastic response of skin to pure shear loading is captured with this model, there is still viscoelastic data from relaxation tests that needs validation. Therefore the goal of this project is to optimize the constitutive viscoelastic definition by modelling experimental relaxation data.