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I am doing research on biomedical device development, and focusing on devices that work on grasping tissues in the abdominal area. I need some help with applying the concepts of material strength to human tissues.

In simple language, let's assume that the stiffness constant (or the spring constant, K) of a given tissue is known, and we assume that it is a constant and hence the compression of the tissue is linearly proportional to the compressive force applied on it.

Given that we know K, is there a way to figure out the upper limit of the Force or the upper limit of the compression I can allow, before the tissue gets damaged? i.e. can we estimate the compressive yield strength of the tissue given that we know its K?

Another small confusion: If we are talking about the point at which tissue damages, is that the point of yield strength or ultimate strength?

I'm familiar with basic solid mechanics and strength of materials on a very beginner level and I'm getting stuck in applying those concepts in the context of biomechanics. Any help in this direction would be really helpful.

PS: This is not Homework help, I work as an RA and I'm stuck at this issue in my research :)

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  • $\begingroup$ have you tested with ballistic gel? $\endgroup$ – Solar Mike Jul 1 '18 at 21:58
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There is no general relation between the stiffness and strength of different materials.

Also, be aware that in general, the mechanical behaviour of biological materials much more complicated than the "simple" linear-elastic isotropic materials typically used in structural engineering.

I'm not a medical expert, but common sense suggests that for a living biomaterial, "damage" is a much more complicated notion than "how much force does it take to break it!"

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  • $\begingroup$ You comment about biomaterial damage is very apt particularly when pain is considered. Biomedical tissue does not need to be damage before pain is experienced & people's sensitivity to pain varies considerably. $\endgroup$ – Fred Jun 29 '18 at 9:02
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An excellent research book

The above book ought to educate you on structural materials whilst giving you the mathematical resources to complete your research. It covers materials such as bone, tendon, muscle, steels, rock and polymeric origin types also. It is not nearly as dry as you might expect from a non-fiction book and worth the effort. It explains tensile stresses, strain, Work of Fracture, energy storage capacity of materials etc. You really ought to be able to find many answers derived from Mr Gordon's knowledge.

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