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Lanzl, Felicitas; Duddeck, Fabian; Willuweit, Saskia and Peldschus, Steffen (2021): Experimental characterisation of porcine subcutaneous adipose tissue under blunt impact up to irreversible deformation. In: International Journal of Legal Medicine, Vol. 136, No. 3: pp. 897-910

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A deeper understanding of the mechanical characteristics of adipose tissue under large deformation is important for the analysis of blunt force trauma, as adipose tissue alters the stresses and strains that are transferred to subjacent tissues. Hence, results from drop tower tests of subcutaneous adipose tissue are presented (i) to characterise adipose tissue behaviour up to irreversible deformation, (ii) to relate this to the microstructural configuration, (iii) to quantify this deformation and (iv) to provide an analytical basis for computational modelling of adipose tissue under blunt impact. The drop tower experiments are performed exemplarily on porcine subcutaneous adipose tissue specimens for three different impact velocities and two impactor geometries. An approach based on photogrammetry is used to derive 3D representations of the deformation patterns directly after the impact. Median values for maximum impactor acceleration for tests with a flat cylindrical impactor geometry at impact velocities of 886 mm/s, 1253 mm/s and 2426 mm/s amount to 61.1 g, 121.6 g and 264.2 g, respectively, whereas thickness reduction of the specimens after impact amount to 16.7%, 30.5% and 39.3%, respectively. The according values for tests with a spherically shaped impactor at an impact velocity of 1253 mm/s are 184.2 g and 78.7%. Based on these results, it is hypothesised that, in the initial phase of a blunt impact, adipose tissue behaviour is mainly governed by the behaviour of the lipid inside the adipocytes, whereas for further loading, contribution of the extracellular collagen fibre network becomes more dominant.

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