A Modelling Approach for Exploring Muscle Dynamics during Cyclic Contractions

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Scholarly level: 
Graduate student (PhD)
Final version published as: 

Ross SA, Nigam N, Wakeling JM (2018) A modelling approach for exploring muscle dynamics during cyclic contractions. PLoS Comput Biol 14(4): e1006123. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1006123.

Date created: 
2018-04-16
Abstract: 

Hill-type muscle models are widely used within the field of biomechanics to predict and understand muscle behaviour, and are often essential where muscle forces cannot be directly measured. However, these models have limited accuracy, particularly during cyclic contractions at the submaximal levels of activation that typically occur during locomotion. To address this issue, recent studies have incorporated effects into Hill-type models that are oftentimes neglected, such as size-dependent, history-dependent, and activation-dependent effects. However, the contribution of these effects on muscle performance has yet to be evaluated under common contractile conditions that reflect the range of activations, strains, and strain rates that occur in vivo. The purpose of this study was to develop a modelling framework to evaluate modifications to Hill-type muscle models when they contract in cyclic loops that are typical of locomotor muscle function. Here we present a modelling framework composed of a damped harmonic oscillator in series with a Hill-type muscle actuator that consists of a contractile element and parallel elastic element. The intrinsic force-length and force-velocity properties are described using B├ęzier curves where we present a system to relate physiological parameters to the control points for these curves. The muscle-oscillator system can be geometrically scaled while preserving dynamic and kinematic similarity to investigate the muscle size effects while controlling for the dynamics of the harmonic oscillator. The model is driven by time-varying muscle activations that cause the muscle to cyclically contract and drive the dynamics of the harmonic oscillator. Thus, this framework provides a platform to test current and future Hill-type model formulations and explore factors affecting muscle performance in muscles of different sizes under a range of cyclic contractile conditions.

Language: 
English
Document type: 
Article
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