Mechanics of blast-induced traumatic brain injury in porcine brain tissue
Blast-induced traumatic brain injury (bTBI) often results from the detonation of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in war settings. However, the material properties of the brain and their changes during and after bTBI are currently not well understood. Characterizing brain tissue is challenging due to the inhomogeneous and anisotropic properties of the tissue and the brain's enclosure in the skull. Thus, this research is focused on experimentally quantifying the mechanical properties of brain tissues exposed to a blast wave. Specifically, the effects of swelling from storage solution and blast impact were investigated by exposing whole porcine brains to shock waves generated from an air pistol and allowing whole porcine brains to soak in saline solution. The mechanical properties of the brain tissue were quantified in a stress relaxation experiment in which the tissue was compressed to 80% of its original height at a rate of 5 mm/min, 50 mm/min, or 500 mm/min and then held for two minutes. The work from this thesis will increase understanding of the dynamic mechanical behavior of brain tissue. Results describing the brain's response to shock waves will further knowledge of bTBI mechanisms, which will facilitate the design of effective countermeasures to prevent and protect against blast-induced traumatic brain injury.