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  1. Abstract This paper presents a method to derive the virtual fields for identifying constitutive model parameters using the Virtual Fields Method (VFM). The VFM is an approach to identify unknown constitutive parameters using deformation fields measured across a given volume of interest. The general principle for solving identification problems with the VFM is first to derive parametric stress field, where the stress components at any point depend on the unknown constitutive parameters, across the volume of interest from the measured deformation fields. Applying the principle of virtual work to the parametric stress fields, one can write scalar equations of the unknown parameters and solve the obtained system of equations to deduce the values of unknown parameters. However, no rules have been proposed to select the virtual fields in identification problems related to nonlinear elasticity and there are multiple strategies possible that can yield different results. In this work, we propose a systematic, robust and automatic approach to reconstruct the systems of scalar equations with the VFM. This approach is well suited to finite-element implementation and can be applied to any problem provided that full-field deformation data are available across a volume of interest. We also successfully demonstrate the feasibility ofmore »the novel approach by multiple numerical examples. Potential applications of the proposed approach are numerous in biomedical engineering where imaging techniques are commonly used to observe soft tissues and where alterations of material properties are markers of diseased states.« less
  2. Joint disorders can be detrimental to quality of life. There is an unmet need for precise functional reconstruction of native-like cartilage and bone tissues in the craniofacial space and particularly for the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Current surgical methods suffer from lack of precision and comorbidities and frequently involve multiple operations. Studies have sought to improve craniofacial bone grafts without addressing the cartilage, which is essential to TMJ function. For the human-sized TMJ in the Yucatan minipig model, we engineered autologous, biologically, and anatomically matched cartilage-bone grafts for repairing the ramus-condyle unit (RCU), a geometrically intricate structure subjected to complex loading forces. Using image-guided micromilling, anatomically precise scaffolds were created from decellularized bone matrix and infused with autologous adipose-derived chondrogenic and osteogenic progenitor cells. The resulting constructs were cultured in a dual perfusion bioreactor for 5 weeks before implantation. Six months after implantation, the bioengineered RCUs maintained their predefined anatomical structure and regenerated full-thickness, stratified, and mechanically robust cartilage over the underlying bone, to a greater extent than either autologous bone-only engineered grafts or acellular scaffolds. Tracking of implanted cells and parallel bioreactor studies enabled additional insights into the progression of cartilage and bone regeneration. This study demonstrates the feasibility ofmore »TMJ regeneration using anatomically precise, autologous, living cartilage-bone grafts for functional, personalized total joint replacement. Inclusion of the adjacent tissues such as soft connective tissues and the TMJ disc could further extend the functional integration of engineered RCUs with the host.

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