Campus Units

Mechanical Engineering, Neuroscience

Document Type


Publication Version

Submitted Manuscript

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials



First Page





Improvised explosive devices (IEDs), during military operations, has increased the incidence of blast-induced traumatic brain injuries (bTBI). The shock wave is created following detonation of the IED. This shock wave propagates through the atmosphere and may cause bTBI. As a result, bTBI research has gained increased attention since this injury's mechanism is not thoroughly understood. To develop better protection and treatment against bTBI, further studies of soft material (e.g. brain and brain surrogate) deformation due to shock wave exposure are essential. However, the dynamic mechanical behavior of soft materials, subjected to high strain rates from shock wave exposure, remains unknown. Thus, an experimental approach was applied to study the interaction between the shock wave and an unconfined brain surrogate fabricated from a biomaterial (i.e. polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)). The 1:70 ratio of curing agent-to-base determined the stiffness of the PDMS (Sylgard 184, Dow Corning Corporation). A stretched NACA 2414 (upper airfoil surface) geometry was utilized to resemble the shape of a porcine brain. Digital image correlation (DIC) technique was applied to measure the deformation on the brain surrogate's surface following shock wave exposure. A shock tube was utilized to create the shock wave and pressure transducers measured the pressure in the vicinity of the brain surrogate. A transient structural analysis using ANSYS Workbench was performed to predict the elastic modulus of 1:70 airfoil-shaped PDMS, at a strain rate on the order of 6 × 103 s−1. Both compression and protrusion of the PDMS surface were found due to the shock wave exposure. Negative pressure was found in a semi-ring area, which was the cause of protrusion. Oscillation of the brain surrogate, due to the shock wave loading, was found. The frequency of oscillation does not depend on the geometry. This work will add to the limited data describing the dynamic behavior of soft materials due to shock wave loading.


This is a manuscript of an article published as Zhang, Ling, William J. Jackson, and Sarah A. Bentil. "Deformation of an airfoil-shaped brain surrogate under shock wave loading." Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials 120 (2021): 104513. DOI: 10.1016/j.jmbbm.2021.104513. Posted with permission.

Copyright Owner

Elsevier Ltd.



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Published Version