Soft tissues such as ligaments, tendons, and skin possess time- and history-dependant properties. Despite the many advances in experimental and theoretical biomechanics, the material properties of these soft biological structures are still not well understood. Our research group examines the response of soft tissues at high strain rates. The human body is subjected to dynamic loading in a variety of situations, one of the most common being automobile accidents.

This PhD project focuses on the development of combined theoretical and experimental tools to capture the strain rate dependent behaviour of soft tissues. The experimental work will involve testing skin under dynamic tensile loading conditions (strain rates greater than 100 1/s). In addition to the experimental tests, constitutive models which accurately describe the observed strain rate dependency will developed. The goal is to develop structural constitutive models which take into account the underlying tissue morphology.

The project will provide excellent training in image based measurement techniques such as digital image correlation (DIC), continuum mechanics, and skin anatomy and physiology. The student will need to master a range of cutting edge dynamic tensile testing and high speed imaging techniques to complete the research project. The Engineering Sciences Academic Unit has state-of-the-art high strain rate and impact research facilities already in place to support this research programme. There is also a comprehensive research training support programme to prepare the student. Full support is available for an EU/UK student.

To apply for the position visit: If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr. Frances Davis, Materials Research Group, University of Southampton. Email: