Structural Changes in Lipid Vesicles Generated by the Shock Blast Waves: Coarse-Grained Molecular Dynamics Simulation

Report No. ARL-CR-722
Authors: Yelena R. Sliozberg
Date/Pages: November 2013; 24 pages
Abstract: Traumatic Brain Injury is a major health issue that is hard to diagnose because it often happens without external injuries. While it is well known that exposure of biological cells to shock waves causes damage to cell membranes, it is currently unknown how blast waves generated by an explosion cause the cellular structural injury. It is still unclear by which mechanisms damage is caused, and how it depends on physical parameters such as shock-wave velocity, shock-pulse duration, or shock-pulse shape. Used in this computational study is a coarse-grained model of the lipid vesicle as a simplified model of a cell membrane to elucidate the general principles of the cellular damage induced by blast waves. The results show that the cellular membrane permeability is altered even for a relatively mild blast wave (the Mach number M is less than 1.5) in the negative pressure phase. The simulation findings suggest that the small negative pressure approximately 5 psi may lead to the cellular damage by changing the ion influx. The faster-moving shock waves (M? ≈ 1.9) that have higher overpressure peaks cause the cellular damage in the positive pressure phase if peak overpressure is greater than 60 psi.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: November 1, 2013