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An impact to the head causes brain matter to shake, deform, stretch, shear and twist, among many other possible responses. In reality we have little idea of what is actually happening in the brain. To make progress, we can use computer simulations to create an impact and look at its consequences, and also create other scenarios such as tumour growth, neurosurgery, blast wave propagation, etc. However, these simulations are as good, and as bad, as the model they are based on. Here we will see some of the techniques available to measure the material properties of brain matter and to model its mechanical behaviour in a robust and meaningful way. We will see the limitations of destructive testing (simple shear, torsion) and move on to non-destructive, non-invasive protocols based on the theory of acousto-elasticity.
Michel Destrade is Chair of Applied Mathematics at NUI Galway, Adjunct Professor of Solid Mechanics at Zhejiang University, Adjunct Professor of Mechanical Engineering at University College Dublin, and a member of the International Brain Mechanics and Trauma Lab. He is the Reviews Editor of Proceedings of the Royal Society A, and Associate Editor of several international journals. His research interests are in nonlinear elasticity, in the mechanics of elastomers, soft dielectrics and biological soft tissues, and in linear, linearized, and non-linear waves and wrinkles in soft matter. In those fields, he has authored or co- authored 5 invited book chapters and more than 130 publications in refereed international journals.