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Numerical simulation of nonlinear material behaviour: application to sports bra design

Liang, R.Yip, J.*Yu, W.Chen, L.Lau, N. M.
Materials & Design

Compression sports bras are designed to protect the breasts by compressing them against the chest wall during physical activities. However, scientific analyses of the mechanical interactions between the body and sports bras have been largely absent. Therefore, the aim of this study is to simulate the static and dynamic contact conditions and dynamic displacements by using a finite element (FE) analysis. The FE model of the body is constructed with a rigid torso, hyperelastic breasts, and subcutaneous tissues. Scanning is carried out to obtain a geometric model of the body. The material coefficients of the breasts are determined by examining the differences between the FE-modelled results and experimental data. The FE contact model of a female body and sports bra is used to calculate the static and dynamic contact pressure, dynamic displacement of the breasts, and natural frequencies of the breasts with and without donning a sports bra. The calculated root mean square errors are less than 1%, which shows a good agreement between the FE results and experimental data. The FE contact model in this study provides a better understanding of the interaction between sports bras and the body and theoretical support for compression sports bra designs.