Non-contact tensile viscoelastic characterization of microscale biological materials
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Many structures and materials in nature and physiology have important “meso-scale” structures at the micron length-scale whose tensile responses have proven difficult to characterize mechanically. Although techniques such as atomic force microscopy and micro- and nano-identation are mature for compression and indentation testing at the nano-scale, and standard uniaxial and shear rheometry techniques exist for the macroscale, few techniques are applicable for tensile-testing at the micrometre-scale, leaving a gap in our understanding of hierarchical biomaterials. Here, we present a novel magnetic mechanical testing (MMT) system that enables viscoelastic tensile testing at this critical length scale. The MMT system applies non-contact loading, avoiding gripping and surface interaction effects. We demonstrate application of the MMT system to the first analyses of the pure tensile responses of several native and engineered tissue systems at the mesoscale, showing the broad potential of the system for exploring micro- and meso-scale analysis of structured and hierarchical biological systems.
KeywordsMechanical testing Hierarchical biomaterials Non-contact actuation Microscale analysis
This project was partially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grants 11532009, 11372243, and 11522219) and the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (Grant 2016M602810). This project was also supported by the Initiative Postdocs Supporting Program (Grant BX201600121).
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