Does subcutaneous adipose tissue behave as an (anti-)thyxotropic material?

M. Geerligs, G.W.M. Peters, P.A.J. Ackermans, C.W.J. Oomens, F.P.T. Baaijens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Although subcutaneous adipose tissue undergoes large deformations on a daily basis, there is no adequate mechanical model to describe the transfer of mechanical load from the skin throughout the tissue to deeper layers. In order to develop such a non-linear model, a set of experimental data is required. Accordingly, this study examines the long term behavior of adipose tissue under small strain and its response to various large strain profiles. The results show that the shear modulus dramatically increases to about an order of magnitude after a loading period between 250 and 1250 s, but returns to its initial value within 3 h of recovery from loading. In addition, it was observed that the stress–strain responses for various large strain history sequences are reproducible up to a strain of 0.15. For increasing strains, the stress decreases for subsequent loading cycles and, above 0.3 strain, tissue structure changes such that the stress becomes independent of the applied strain. From the results, it can be concluded that adipose tissue likely behaves as an (anti-) thixotropic material and that a Mooney–Rivlin model might be appropriate to simulate behavior at physiologically relevant high strains. However, before the model is developed more fully, further experimental research is needed to ratify that the material is (anti-)thixotropic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1153-1159
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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