Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Report

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Advisor 1

Gregory Odegard

Committee Member 1

Mohammad Rastgaar-Aagaah

Committee Member 2

Tammy Haut Donahue


This research project serves as exploratory work in the field of computational human biomechanics. A connection between muscular force and intramuscular pressure (IMP) has been uncovered that could prove invaluable in medical diagnostics as a method to circumvent the use of electromyography.

Preliminary finite element simulations were conducted to model the human tibialis anterior muscle in passive lengthening and active contraction. These simulations, totaling over 50 unique runs, utilized a novel constitutive model developed within the IMP research group. Volumetric strain, reaction forces, and pressure gradients were compared to data acquired from ongoing in vivo human experiments. A mechanism for passive stretching and active contraction was theorized, with the aponeuroses bearing the majority of the load due to their high stiffness.

Though the model will require future iterations to make adjustments, several promising conclusions were drawn during analysis. Fluid pressure distributions mimic those of the volumetric strain, and provide a better prediction of IMP than hydrostatic pressure. Reaction forces and pressure readings can be iterated to a reasonable level of accuracy. A thorough list of recommendations was compiled in order to guide the future direction of the model. Fluid pressures for the active contractile simulations were higher than the expected IMP values, likely owing to the stiffness of the aponeuroses being greater than necessary. Several options for addressing this issue were proposed, such as decreased aponeurosis length and graduated thickness and stiffness of the elements in the extremes of the parts.