Yin, Frank C.-P. Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.
Chien, Shu Institute for Biomedical Engineering, University of California, La Jolla, California.
Skalak, Richard Formerly, Institute for Mechanics and Materials, University of California, San Diego, California.
Alexander, R. McNeill Department of Biology, University of Leeds, Leeds, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom.
Last reviewed:October 2019
- Living tissues
- Cells and organs
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A field that combines the disciplines of biology and engineering mechanics and utilizes the tools of physics, mathematics, and engineering to quantitatively describe the properties of biological materials. One of its basic properties is embodied in so-called constitutive laws, which fundamentally describe the properties of constituents, independent of size or geometry, and specifically how a material deforms in response to applied forces. For most inert materials, measurement of the forces and deformations is straightforward by means of commercially available devices or sensors that can be attached to a test specimen. Many materials, ranging from steel to rubber, have linear constitutive laws, with the proportionality constant (elastic modulus) between the deformation and applied forces providing a simple index to distinguish the soft rubber from the stiff steel.
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