Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department


Committee Member

Dr. Delphine Dean, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Bruce Gao

Committee Member

Dr. Jiro Nagatomi


Direct physical intervention in the treatment of patients in the area of neurosurgery represents a high risk which can be minimized with the employment of 3D physical models. These models provide a thorough physical display in 3D with detailed information related to the morphology of internal structures and their spatial location with surrounding structures. The aim of this study was to develop a brain substitute material based on gelatin that simulates the mechanical properties of brain tissue. Tissue mimicking materials were developed by matching the mechanical properties of porcine brain tissue under compressive loading at strain rates typical of surgical procedures. A brain phantom was fabricated using the tissue mimicking material, the brain (cortex and internal structures) and skull were created in a 3-step process where molds were fabricated with a 3D modeling software, printed in Polylactic Acid (PLA) and finally cast with brain tissue-mimicking material. To further test the quality of the developed material, a haptic test was conducted at Clemson University. A total of 22 bioengineering students assessed the haptic sense of two different tissue-mimicking material brain phantoms comparing them with real brain tissue. It was possible to fabricate two brain substitute materials that resembled the mechanical properties of brain tissue which were used to recreate patient-specific brain replicas in the form of tissue mimicking phantoms. These brain phantoms provide a realistic haptic sense similar to brain tissue which realism has potential as an educational tool and preoperative planning device for neurosurgery procedures.



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