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In this work, a continuum constitutive framework for the mechanical modelling of soft tissues that incorporates strain rate and temperature dependencies as well as the transverse isotropy arising from fibres embedded into a soft matrix is developed. The constitutive formulation is based on a Helmholtz free energy function decoupled into the contribution of a viscous-hyperelastic matrix and the contribution of fibres introducing dispersion dependent transverse isotropy. The proposed framework considers finite deformation kinematics, is thermodynamically consistent and allows for the particularisation of the energy potentials and flow equations of each constitutive branch. In this regard, the approach developed herein provides the basis on which specific constitutive models can be potentially formulated for a wide variety of soft tissues. To illustrate this versatility, the constitutive framework is particularised here for animal and human white matter and skin, for which constitutive models are provided. In both cases, different energy functions are considered: Neo-Hookean, Gent and Ogden. Finally, the ability of the approach at capturing the experimental behaviour of the two soft tissues is confirmed.
Soft tissues Strain rate dependence Temperature dependence White matter Skin