Suction cups are widely used in applications such as in measurement of mechanical properties of skin in vivo, in drug delivery devices or in acupuncture treatment. Understanding mechanical response of skin under hypobaric pressure is of great importance for users of suction cups. The aim of this work is to predict the hypobaric pressure induced 3D stretching of the skin.
Experimental skin tensile tests were carried out for mechanical property characterization. Both linear elasticity and hyperelasticity parameters were determined and implemented in Finite Element modelling. Skin suction tests were performed in both experiments and FEM simulations for model validation. 3D skin stretching is then visualized in detail in FEM simulations.
The simulations showed that the skin was compressed consistently along the thickness direction, leading to reduced thickness. At the center of the dome, the radial and angular strain decreases from the top surface to the bottom surface, although always in tension. Hyperelasticity modelling showed superiority over linear elasticity modelling while predicting the strain distribution because the stretch ratio reaches values exceeding the initial linear elastic stage of the stress-strain curve for skin.
Hyperelasticity modelling is an effective approach to predict the 3D strain distribution, which paves a way to accurately design safe commercial products that interface with the skin.

© 2021 The Authors. Skin Research and Technology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.