The preservation of human surrogates for biomechanical studies

Crandall, Jeff R., Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Virginia
Pilkey, Walter D., Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Virginia

Preservation procedures for human surrogates were evaluated based on their ability to maintain the mechanical properties of fresh tissues, to simulate the response of living tissues, and to limit the transmittance of infectious diseases. The biomechanical properties of fresh, frozen, and embalmed hard tissues were obtained from three-point bend tests and analyzed using elastic beam theory. The elastic responses and the relaxation functions of preserved soft tissues were determined from indentation testing and viscoelastic models. Based upon the results from mechanical testing of the tissue specimens, preservation techniques for surrogates were adjusted to provide the response of living humans in an impact environment. Compression tests of preserved surrogates were performed and compared with published values for tensed and untensed volunteers. Combining simulation software and dynamic analysis, the sensitivity of human response to tissue condition was characterized in order to demonstrate the utility of using preservation techniques to adjust the physical properties of human surrogates. Finally, chromatography procedures estimated the distribution and the concentration of chemical disinfectants within embalmed surrogates. The analysis determined that the concentrations of the preservatives were sufficient to neutralize any infectious viruses or bacteria in the tissues. The mechanical test results, simulation work, and chemical analysis indicate that embalming is the preferential preservation method for human surrogates used in biomechanical studies.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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