The effectiveness of a Gore-Tex layer for protecting soft tissue from damage in shock wave therapy is investigated analytically, numerically and experimentally. Analytical considerations based on the fundamentals of wave dynamics and two-dimensional numerical simulations based on the elastodynamic equations are carried out for underwater shock wave propagation and interaction with Gore-Tex membrane models of different complexity. The results clearly demonstrate that considerable attenuation of shock waves with Gore-Tex is due to the air trapped inside the membrane. The experimental results confirm that a Gore-Tex sheet placed in the liquid reduces the transmitted shock wave peak overpressure significantly, by up to two orders of magnitude. Another experimental series reveals what kind of damage in the rat brain tissue can be caused by shock waves of different intensity.
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