Minimizing tissue damage during blade cutting is vital for optimal surgical outcomes. However, the elastomeric properties of tissues require that they be considerably deformed before cut initiation, resulting in physical damage. Thus, the blade indentation depth required for cut initiation must be reduced by enhancing the cut-initiation ability of a process. In this study, factors that influence the cut initiation of elastomeric solids are identified by investigating the tensile stress states beneath the blade that trigger cut initiation. Finite element simulations are used to analyze interfacial interactions between the blade and workpiece and their relation to the stress states. Results show that the distribution of the in-plane stretch of the workpiece surface along the blade surface plays a key role in determining the stress states and the resulting cut-initiation ability. The effects of process parameters, including interfacial friction, blade tip geometry, blade motion, and workpiece size, are examined and discussed by analyzing the corresponding in-plane surface stretch distribution. This study offers a fundamental understanding of cut initiation in elastomeric solid cutting for improving surgical cutting tasks.

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