The biomechanical characteristics of human skin
The aims of the research project described in the thesis were to investigate the mechanical properties of skin, to develop relevant analytical concepts and to explore clinical applications. Chapter I gives a review of the published literature, consisting of a brief description of the anatomy of skin, a more detailed survey of the nature and mechanical properties of the components of skin and a critical review of all known work on the mechanical properties of skin. The pilot experiments which were carried out to define the nature and extent of the problems involved in testing skin are described in Chapter II. Various theoretical approaches to describe the behaviour of skin are considered in Chapter III, including a semi-empirical network concept and the general theory of continuum mechanics applied to biological tissue. Chapter IV contains a detailed description of the development of testing methods up to and including the highly refined uniaxial, constant strain rate technique which was eventually used. Stress relaxation and creep tests are also described. The results obtained are analysed in Chapter V. Various attempts to develop in vivo testing techniques are described in Chapter VI and possible clinical applications of the work covered in this thesis are discussed in Chapter VII. There is an extensive bibliography and various appendices, presenting the details of experimental and analytical techniques which were not fully discussed in the main text. No separate list of the mathematical notation employed is given as each symbol is explained as it arises.