Developing appropriate mathematical models for biological soft tissues such as ligaments, tendons, and menisci is challenging. Stress-strain behavior of these tissues is known to be continuous and characterized by an exponential toe region followed by a linear elastic region. The conventional curve-fitting technique applies a linear curve to the elastic region followed by a separate exponential curve to the toe region. However, this technique does not enforce continuity at the transition between the two regions leading to inaccuracies in the material model. In this work, a Continuous Method is developed to fit both the exponential and linear regions simultaneously, which ensures continuity between regions. Using both methods, three cases were evaluated: idealized data generated mathematically, noisy idealized data produced by adding random noise to the idealized data, and measured data obtained experimentally. In all three cases, the Continuous Method performed superiorly to the conventional technique, producing smaller errors between the model and data and also eliminating discontinuities at the transition between regions. Improved material models may lead to better predictions of nonlinear biological tissues’ behavior resulting in improved the accuracy for a large array of models and computational analyses used to predict clinical outcomes.

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See Supplemental material http://dx.doi.org/10.1115/1.4004412http://dx.doi.org/10.1115/1.4004412 E-JBENDY-133-015106 for free MATLAB code download. This document can be reached through a direct link in the online article’s HTML reference section or via the homepage http://www.aip.org/pubservs/epaps.html.
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