A viscoelastic model for the response of a step change in velocity of the human otolith organs
Cotton, John Rowland
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The otolith organs are housed in the inner ear and are responsible for sensing accelerations and gravity. These inertial sensing systems are modeled in this thesis as a three material system consisting of a rigid otoconial plate attached to the skull by a gel layer, surrounded by a viscous endolymph fluid. The gel layer is considered to be a viscoelastic solid, and modeled as a simple Kelvin element. The governing differential equations are derived and nondimensionalized, yielding three nondimensional parameters: nondimensional density, R, nondimensional viscosity, M, and nondimensional elasticity, 6. The equations are solved using uÌ nite difference techniques on a digital computer. By comparing the modelâ s response with previous biological research, values for the nondimensional parameters are found. The value of R is 0.75 and the value of 6 is between 0.3 and 0.075. While the value of M is placed between 5. and 10., results indicate that to properly model the long time response of the otolith, a single and constant value for viscosity is not feasible.
- Masters Theses