Abstract

Modeling biological soft tissue is complex in part due to material heterogeneity. Microstructural patterns, which play a major role in defining the mechanical behavior of these tissues, are both challenging to characterize, and difficult to simulate. Recently, machine learning (ML)-based methods to predict the mechanical behavior of heterogeneous materials have made it possible to more thoroughly explore the massive input parameter space associated with heterogeneous blocks of material. Specifically, we can train ML models to closely approximate computationally expensive heterogeneous material simulations where the ML model is trained on datasets of simulations with relevant spatial heterogeneity. However, when it comes to applying these techniques to tissue, there is a major limitation: the number of useful examples available to characterize the input domain under study is often limited. In this work, we investigate the efficacy of both ML-based generative models and procedural methods as tools for augmenting limited input pattern datasets. We find that a Style-based Generative Adversarial Network with an adaptive discriminator augmentation mechanism is able to successfully leverage just 1,000 example patterns to create authentic generated patterns. And, we find that diverse generated patterns with adequate resemblance to real patterns can be used as inputs to finite element simulations to meaningfully augment the training dataset. To enable this methodological contribution, we have created an open access Finite Element Analysis simulation dataset based on Cahn-Hilliard patterns. We anticipate that future researchers will be able to leverage this dataset and build on the work presented here.

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