Identifying Hyper-Viscoelastic Model Parameters from an Inflation-Extension Test and Ultrasound Images


The aim of the present study was to develop and validate a method based on medical imaging to identify the parameters of a hyper-viscoelastic model suitable for describing the mechanical behavior of vascular tissues, focusing on the aorta. The method uses an inflation-extension test, and the model comprises one hyperelastic element in parallel with one or more Maxwell elements. Cylindrical samples of elastomeric silicone materials with a mechanical behavior similar to vascular tissues were placed in a circuit simulating hemodynamic flow through adequate controlled-pressure variation. Ultrasound B-mode image sequences were analyzed to measure the cyclic circumferential and longitudinal elongations. Precautions were taken a posteriori to resynchronize pressure and deformation signals, and thus minimize errors in the viscosity parameters estimated. The hyper-viscoelastic parameters of the samples were identified with reasonable accuracy as compared with the values obtained via standard measurements, namely tensile tests and dynamic mechanical analysis. However, the estimates of the viscosity parameters can be hampered in the case of stiffer samples. This limitation is bound to a restricted range of frequencies analyzed by the test, which mainly depends on the image acquisition rate. The use of the present method in the clinical environment for in vivo experiments can be foreseen provided that the local pressure measurements are available.

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This study was conducted within the CARDIO project co-funded by Segula Matra Technologies and the French Ministry of National Education and Technological Research, and of the LABEX PRIMES (ANR-11-LABX-0063). Our thanks are extended to Maël ROY, an engineering student at INSA Lyon (department of mechanical engineering and development) and Adeline BERNARD, an engineer assistant at CREATIS laboratory (Lyon, France) for their technical support.

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Correspondence to R. Fulchiron.

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Courtial, EJ., Orkisz, M., Douek, P.C. et al. Identifying Hyper-Viscoelastic Model Parameters from an Inflation-Extension Test and Ultrasound Images. Exp Mech 55, 1353–1366 (2015).

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  • Inflation-extension test
  • Hyper-viscoelasticity
  • Silicone
  • Aortic mechanics
  • Vascular phantom