The scientific/technological objectives and content of the advanced course in Udine, Italy, are to present a state-of-the-art overview of the mechanics of soft tissues, including, for example, arteries, the cardiovascular system, intervertebral discs, tendons and ligaments and other biological tissues of current research interest in biomechanics. This will include experimental, continuum mechanical and computational perspectives, with the emphasis on nonlinear behaviour, and the simulation of mechanical procedures such as balloon angioplasty and stenting. The advanced course will include lectures on the histological structure of soft tissues, which will discuss the different components of several tissues and their contributions to the overall mechanical response. This is essential background for developing both microscopic and macroscopic material models in order to understand the underlying physiological functions. Lectures detailing experimental techniques and the results of experiments will be given to provide information about the highly nonlinear mechanical response of various soft tissues under different loading conditions.
This will form the basis for the mechanical modelling, which will be examined in lectures dealing with nonlinear elasticity, viscoelasticity and plastic mechanisms, with particular reference to anisotropic response associated with fibre reinforcement. The topics of tissue remodelling and growth (important for, e.g. wound healing, adaptation to arterial hypertension, aneurysm development, morphogenesis), will also be featured together with aspects of arterial grafting and analysis of the influence of residual stress ageing and degeneration on the mechanical characteristics. In addition, the increasingly important topic of functional tissue engineering is also discussed. A series of lectures will provide a basis for the implementation of the mechanical models in numerical codes, and representative numerical examples will be used to link the various aspects of the other lectures.