Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Franck Vernerey

Second Advisor

Ronald Pak

Third Advisor

Carlos Felippa

Fourth Advisor

Jon Dow


The field of tissue engineering has expanded vastly over the last decade. Due to difficulties in testing tissues in vivo, numerical models must be produced to determine their mechanical behavior. Load bearing tissues in mammals are typically composed of collagenous fibrous networks connected by covalent cross links. To accurately model the behavior of these complicated tissues, a two dimensional Representative Volume Element has been formulated. The RVE utilizes truss elements, linear elastic springs and constraint forces to provide accurate behavior. The RVE behavior is calibrated to mimic experimental tensile testing of collagen gels by Xu et al. (International Journal of Biomaterials, 2011, pp. 1-12). The RVE behavior represented that of the experiments including producing a "J" shaped stress-strain curve and a brittle failure point of rupture. The simple truss structure RVE is simple enough to be utilized in multiscale finite element methods, while still describing accurate behavior of collagenous materials.