Multiscale Mechanical Characterization of Biomimetic Physically Associating Gels

Report No. ARL-RP-134
Authors: Thomas F. Juliano; Aaron M. Forster; Peter L. Drzal; Tusit Weerasooriya; Paul Moy; Mark R. VanLandingham
Date/Pages: September 2006; 16 pages
Abstract: The mechanical response of living tissue is important to understanding the injury-risk associated with impact events. Often, ballistic gelatin or synthetic materials are developed to serve as tissue surrogates in mechanical testing. Unfortunately, current materials are not optimal and present several experimental challenges. Bulk measurement techniques, such as compression and shear testing geometries, do not fully represent the stress states and rate of loading experienced in an actual impact event. Indentation testing induces deviatoric stress states as well as strain rates not typically available to bulk measurement equipment. In this work, a ballistic gelatin and two styrene-isoprene triblock copolymer gels are tested and compared using both macroscale and microscale measurements. A methodology is presented to conduct instrumented indentation experiments on materials with a modulus far below 1 MPa. The synthetic triblock copolymer gels were much easier to test than the ballistic gelatin. Compared to ballistic gelatin, both copolymer gels were found to have a greater degree of thermal stability. All of the materials exhibit strain-rate dependence, although the magnitude of dependence was a function of the loading rate and testing method.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: September 1, 2006