The purpose of this work was to analyze the biomechanics of degeneration, damage, and failure in biological soft tissues both experimentally and computationally to provide insight into tendon or ligament tearing, tendo-achilles lengthening and lumbar spine dysfunction. For soft tissue tearing, experimental studies for calculating fracture toughness were performed and determined that tendons and ligaments are able to completely resist tear propagation. For tendo-achilles lengthening, a damage model was developed to mimic the behavior of the lengthening that occurs as a result of the percutaneous triple hemisection technique. The model provided insight for predicting the amount of lengthening that occurs during the procedure. For lumbar spine dysfunction, a finite element model was validated against experimental testing and simulated using boundary conditions representing physiological loading. The model was able to predict how biomechanical changes can lead to pain and how the prevalence of Schmorl's nodes can be predicted. For each of the situations, the best verification and validation methods were selected and are presented throughout the research to demonstrate the predictive capabilities and limitations of the work. Results of these studies are presented along with how those results influence the clinical endeavors associated with the degeneration, damage and failure of soft tissues.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





finite element, spine, biomechanics, percutaneous tendon lengthening, fracture toughness, tendon, ligament