The non-linear mechanical behaviour of porcine brain tissue in large shear deformations is determined. An improved method for rotational shear experiments is used, producing an approximately homogeneous strain field and leading to an enhanced accuracy. Results from oscillatory shear experiments with a strain amplitude of 0.01 and frequencies ranging from 0.04 to 16 Hz are given. The immediate loss of structural integrity, due to large deformations, influencing the mechanical behaviour of brain tissue, at the time scale of loading, is investigated. No significant immediate mechanical damage is observed for these shear deformations up to strains of 0.45. Moreover, the material behaviour during complex loading histories (loading– unloading) is investigated. Stress relaxation experiments for strains up to 0.2 and constant strain rate experiments for shear rates from 0.01 to 1 s−1 and strains up to 0.15 are presented. A new differential viscoelastic model is used to describe the mechanical response of brain tissue. The model is formulated in terms of a large strain viscoelastic framework and considers non-linear viscous deformations in combination with non-linear elastic behaviour. This constitutive model is readily applicable in three-dimensional head models in order to predict the mechanical response of the intra-cranial contents due to an impact.
Keywords: Brain tissue, large strain, constitutive model, viscoelasticity