Stress concentration around an atelectatic region: A finite element model
Author(s)Makiyama, A. M.; Gibson, Lorna; Harris, R. S.; Venegas, J. G.
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Lung parenchyma surrounding an atelectatic region is thought to be subjected to increased stress compared with the rest of the lung. Using 37 hexagonal cells made of linear springs, Mead et al. (1970) measured a stress concentration greater than 30% in the springs surrounding a stiffer central cell. We re-examine the problem using a 2D finite element model of 500 cells made of thin filaments with a non-linear stress–strain relationship. We study the consequences of increasing the central stiff region from one to nine contiguous cells in regular hexagonal honeycombs and random Voronoi honeycombs. The honeycomb structures were uniformly expanded with strains of 15%, 30%, 45% and 55% above their resting, non-deformed geometry. The curve of biaxial stress vs. fractional area change has a similar shape to that of the pressure–volume curve of the lung, showing an initial regime with relatively flat slope and a final regime with decreasing slope, tending toward an asymptote. Regular honeycombs had little variability in the maximum stress in radially oriented filaments adjacent to the central stiff region. In contrast, some filaments in random Voronoi honeycombs were subjected to stress concentration approximately 16 times the average stress concentration in the radially oriented filaments adjacent to the stiff region. These results may have implications in selecting the appropriate strategy for mechanical ventilation in ARDS and defining a “safe” level of alveolar pressure for ventilating atelectatic lungs.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology
Makiyama, A.M., L.J. Gibson, R.S. Harris, and J.G. Venegas. “Stress Concentration Around an Atelectatic Region: A Finite Element Model.” Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology 201 (September 2014): 101–110.
Author's final manuscript