BME Seminar Series: Dr. Sarah Bentil, Iowa State University

Password: 664408
United States

Sarah A. Bentil, PhD
Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Assistant Professor of Neuroscience Interdepartmental Graduate Program
Iowa State University of Science and Technology



"Developing a Brain Surrogate for Blast Exposure Studies"

In recent years, there has been an escalation of blast-induced traumatic brain injuries (bTBI) caused by improvised explosive devices during global conflict. Blast injuries are attributed to the blast wave and has the capability to cause life-threatening injuries and fatalities. Currently, combat helmets cannot prevent a bTBI. An improved helmet design that can mitigate a bTBI can be tested using a head dummy, to avoid the ethical issues of exposing humans to a blast wave. However, a brain surrogate that is inserted into the head dummy first needs to be developed. This seminar will highlight a study that couples both shock tube experiments and finite element simulations to understand how to fabricate a brain surrogate using a silicone elastomer. Validation of the brain surrogate is performed using a porcine brain and the bulk material properties as a metric. The results of this work will facilitate future blast exposure studies involving a head dummy with a brain surrogate inside, to assess the effectiveness of helmets designed to prevent bTBI.


Sarah A. Bentil is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State University of Science and Technology. She is also an Assistant Professor in the Neuroscience Interdepartmental Graduate Program at Iowa State University. Her research interests are in the field of soft tissue and biomaterial mechanics. Her current work involves investigating traumatic brain injury mechanisms due to both blast and blunt impact. She held the title of William March Scholar in Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State University of Science and Technology from 2016 – 2020. In 2015, she completed her postdoctoral appointment with the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute (HEMI) located at The Johns Hopkins University. She received her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in Mechanical Engineering in 2013. Prior to her studies at The Ohio State University, she worked as a General Engineer at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is an agency of the United States Department of Transportation. She received her M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Her undergraduate degrees (B.S.), in both Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics, were obtained from the University of Vermont.