Modeling growth in biological materials

Gareth Wyn Jones, S. Jonathan Chapman

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    The biomechanical modeling of growing tissues has recently become an area of intense interest. In particular, the interplay between growth patterns and mechanical stress is of great importance, with possible applications to arterial mechanics, embryo morphogenesis, tumor development, and bone remodeling. This review aims to give an overview of the theories that have been used to model these phenomena, categorized according to whether the tissue is considered as a continuum object or a collection of cells. Among the continuum models discussed is the deformation gradient decomposition method, which allows a residual stress field to develop from an incompatible growth field. The cell-based models are further subdivided into cellular automata, center-dynamics, and vertex-dynamics models. Of these the second two are considered in more detail, especially with regard to their treatment of cell-cell interactions and cell division. The review concludes by assessing the prospects for reconciliation between these two fundamentally different approaches to tissue growth, and by identifying possible avenues for further research. © 2012 Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)52-118
    Number of pages66
    JournalSIAM REVIEW
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • Agent-based modeling
    • Elasticity
    • Growth
    • Multiscale modeling
    • Tissue modeling


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