Constitutive modeling is critical for numerical simulation and analysis of soft biological tissues. The highly nonlinear and anisotropic mechanical behaviors of soft tissues are typically due to the interaction of tissue microstructure. By incorporating information of fiber orientation and distribution at tissue microscopic scale, the structural model avoids ambiguities in material characterization. Moreover, structural models produce much more information than just simple stress-strain results, but can provide much insight into how soft tissues internally reorganize to external loads by adjusting their internal microstructure. It is only through simulation of an entire organ system can such information be derived and provide insight into physiological function. However, accurate implementation and rigorous validation of these models remains very limited. In the present study we implemented a structural constitutive model into a commercial finite element package for planar soft tissues. The structural model was applied to simulate strip biaxial test for native bovine pericardium, and a single pulmonary valve leaflet deformation. In addition to prediction of the mechanical response, we demonstrate how a structural model can provide deeper insights into fiber deformation fiber reorientation and fiber recruitment.

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