Poynting effect of brain matter in torsion†
We investigate experimentally and model theoretically the mechanical behaviour of brain matter in torsion. Using a strain-controlled rheometer, we perform torsion tests on fresh porcine brain samples. We quantify the torque and the normal force required to twist a cylindrical sample at constant twist rate. Data fitting gives a mean value for the shear modulus of μ = 900 ± 312 Pa and for the second Mooney–Rivlin parameter of c2 = 297 ± 189 Pa, indicative of extreme softness. Our results show that brain always displays a positive Poynting effect; in other words, it expands in the direction perpendicular to the plane of twisting. We validate the experiments with finite element simulations and show that when a human head experiences a twisting motion in the horizontal plane, the brain can experience large forces in the axial direction.