A piecewise mass-spring-damper model of the human breast

Yiqing CAI, Lihua CHEN, Winnie YU, Jie ZHOU, Frances WAN, Minyoung SUH, Hung Kay Daniel CHOW

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Previous models to predict breast movement whilst performing physical activities have, erroneously, assumed uniform elasticity within the breast. Consequently, the predicted displacements have not yet been satisfactorily validated. In this study, real time motion capture of the natural vibrations of a breast that followed, after raising and allowing it to fall freely, revealed an obvious difference in the vibration characteristics above and below the static equilibrium position. This implied that the elastic and viscous damping properties of a breast could vary under extension or compression. Therefore, a new piecewise mass-spring-damper model of a breast was developed with theoretical equations to derive values for its spring constants and damping coefficients from free-falling breast experiments. The effective breast mass was estimated from the breast volume extracted from a 3D body scanned image. The derived spring constant (ka = 73.5 N m−1) above the static equilibrium position was significantly smaller than that below it (kb = 658 N m−1), whereas the respective damping coefficients were similar (ca = 1.83 N s m−1, cb = 2.07 N s m−1). These values were used to predict the nipple displacement during bare-breasted running for validation. The predicted and experimental results had a 2.6% or less root-mean-square-error of the theoretical and experimental amplitudes, so the piecewise mass-spring-damper model and equations were considered to have been successfully validated. This provides a theoretical basis for further research into the dynamic, nonlinear viscoelastic properties of different breasts and the prediction of external forces for the necessary breast support during different sports activities. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-143
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Early online dateDec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018


Cai, Y., Chen, L., Yu, W., Zhou, J., Wan, F., Suh, M., & Chow, D. H.-K. (2018). A piecewise mass-spring-damper model of the human breast. Journal of biomechanics, 67, 137-143. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2017.11.027


  • Breast mass
  • Piecewise mass-spring-damper model
  • Breast vibration


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