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J Biomech Eng. 1991 Feb;113(1):30-5.

The effects of layer properties on shear disturbance propagation in skin.

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Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106.


The effects of the stratum corneum and dermis on shear wave propagation along the skin surface was investigated using a mathematical model. The skin was modeled as two distinct viscoelastic layers, one representing the stratum corneum and the other representing the dermis. The layers were supported by a semi-infinite visco-elastic half-space representing the subcutaneous fat. Physical and mechanical properties of the materials in the model were determined from the literature and from our own experimental measurements. Although the stratum corneum is very thin (12-15 microns), results showed that it could have a strong effect on the wave propagation due to its high stiffness relative to the dermis. Results of the analysis are discussed with respect to an experimental procedure used to determine age-related changes in mechanical properties of skin.

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