“Experimental characterization, constitutive modeling, and computational simulations of the soft tissues of the knee”
Injuries in soft tissues of the knee such as the anterior cruciate ligament (or ACL) and the femoral and tibial cartilages occur in elite athletes and weekend warriors alike. A long-term goal of my work in this area is to prevent many of these injuries. Not enough work has been done to understand the finite deformation response of these non-linear, anisotropic poro-visco-elastic tissue structures - not to mention how they fail. This talk will focus on our recent efforts to characterize the ACL response utilizing full-field displacement measurement techniques that offer more accurate, repeatable, and comprehensive experimental data than traditional testing methods. We’ve pioneered full-volume characterization techniques that provide much needed insight into the inaccuracies associated with many current experimental protocols and also the shortcomings of some popular constitutive models in capturing the full 3D response of the ACL. I will describe how we use these data to develop constitutive models for soft tissues and implement them into computational models of the knee for gait analysis and impact loading simulations. Accurate computational models of the knee such as ours may one day be used to guide clinical practice to determine the best course of action to repair an injury.