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Temple University

1. Shafieian, Mehdi. Toward a Universal Constitutive Model for Brain Tissue.

Degree: PhD, 2012, Temple University

Mechanical Engineering

Several efforts have been made in the past half century to characterize the behavior of brain tissue under different modes of loading and deformation rates; however each developed model has been associated with limitations. This dissertation aims at addressing the non-linear and rate dependent behavior of brain tissue specially in high strain rates (above 100 s-1) that represents the loading conditions occurring in blast induced neurotrauma (BINT) and development of a universal constitutive model for brain tissue that describes the tissue mechanical behavior from medium to high loading rates.. In order to evaluate the nature of nonlinearity of brain tissue, bovine brain samples (n=30) were tested under shear stress-relaxation loading with medium strain rate of 10 s-1 at strain levels ranging from 2% to 40% and the isochronous stress strain curves at 0,1 s and 10 s after the peak force formed. This approach enabled verification of the applicability of the quasilinear viscoelastic (QLV) theory to brain tissue and derivation of its elastic function based on the physics of the material rather than relying solely on curve fitting. The results confirmed that the QLV theory is an acceptable approximation for engineering shear strain levels below 40% that is beyond the level of axonal injury and the shape of the instantaneous elastic response was determined to be a 5th order odd polynomial with instantaneous linear shear modulus of 3.48±0.18 kPa. To investigate the rate dependent behavior of brain tissue at high strain rates, a novel experimental setup was developed and bovine brain samples (n=25) were tested at strain rates of 90, 120, 500, 600 and 800 s-1 and the resulting deformation and shear force were recorded. The stress-strain relationships showed significant rate dependency at high rates and was characterized using a QLV model with a 739 s-1 decay rate and validated with finite element analysis. The results showed the brain instantaneous elastic response can be modeled with a 3rd order odd polynomial and the instantaneous linear shear modulus was 19.2±1.1 kPa. A universal constitutive model was developed by combining the models developed for medium and high rate deformations and based on the QLV theory, in which the relaxation function has 5 time constants for 5 orders of magnitude in time (from 1 ms to 10 s) and therefore, is capable of predicting the brain tissue behavior in a wide range of deformation rates. Although the universal model presented in this study was developed based on only shear tests and the material parameters could not be found uniquely, by comparing the results of this study with previously available data in the literature under tension unique material parameters were determined for a 5 parameter generalized Rivlin elastic function (C10=3.208±0.602 kPa, C01=4.191±1.074 kPa, C11=79.898±18.974 kPa, C20=-37.093±7.273 kPa, C02=-37.712±5.678 kPa). The universal constitutive model for brain tissue presented in this dissertation is capable of characterizing the brain tissue…

Advisors/Committee Members: Darvish, Kurosh, Meaney, David F., Arbogast, Kristy B., Kiani, Mohammad F., Cohen, Richard, Crandall, Jeff R..

Subjects/Keywords: Biomechanics; Blast Neurotrauma; Brain Biomechanics; Finite Element Modeling; Quasilinear Viscoelasticity; Traumatic Brain Injury

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APA (6th Edition):

Shafieian, M. (2012). Toward a Universal Constitutive Model for Brain Tissue. (Doctoral Dissertation). Temple University. Retrieved from,204511

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Shafieian, Mehdi. “Toward a Universal Constitutive Model for Brain Tissue.” 2012. Doctoral Dissertation, Temple University. Accessed October 31, 2020.,204511.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Shafieian, Mehdi. “Toward a Universal Constitutive Model for Brain Tissue.” 2012. Web. 31 Oct 2020.


Shafieian M. Toward a Universal Constitutive Model for Brain Tissue. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. Temple University; 2012. [cited 2020 Oct 31]. Available from:,204511.

Council of Science Editors:

Shafieian M. Toward a Universal Constitutive Model for Brain Tissue. [Doctoral Dissertation]. Temple University; 2012. Available from:,204511