In the creation of engineered tissue constructs, the successful transport of nutrients and oxygen to the contained cells is a significant challenge. In highly porous scaffolds subject to cyclic strain, the mechanical deformations can induce substantial fluid pressure gradients, which affect the transport of solutes. In this article, we describe a poroelastic model to predict the solid and fluid mechanics of a highly porous hydrogel subject to cyclic strain. The model was validated by matching the predicted penetration of a bead into the hydrogel from the model with experimental observations and provides insight into nutrient transport. Additionally, the model provides estimates of the wall-shear stresses experienced by the cells embedded within the scaffold. These results provide insight into the mechanics of and convective nutrient transport within a cyclically strained hydrogel, which could lead to the improved design of engineered tissues.
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