During the last two decades, biological structures with soft tissue components have been modeled using poroelastic or mixture-based constitutive laws, i.e., the material is viewed as a deformable (porous) solid matrix that is saturated by mobile tissue fluid. These structures exhibit a highly nonlinear, history-dependent material behavior; undergo finite strains; and may swell or shrink when tissue ionic concentrations are altered. Given the geometric and material complexity of soft tissue structures and that they are subjected to complicated initial and boundary conditions, finite element models (FEMs) have been very useful for quantitative structural analyses. This paper surveys recent applications of poroelastic and mixture-based theories and the associated FEMs for the study of the biomechanics of soft tissues, and indicates future directions for research in this area. Equivalent finite-strain poroelastic and mixture continuum biomechanical models are presented. Special attention is given to the identification of material properties using a porohyperelastic constitutive law and a total Lagrangian view for the formulation. The associated FEMs are then formulated to include this porohyperelastic material response and finite strains. Extensions of the theory are suggested in order to include inherent viscoelasticity, transport phenomena, and swelling in soft tissue structures. A number of biomechanical research areas are identified, and possible applications of the porohyperelastic and mixture-based FEMs are suggested.

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