A New Constitutive Framework for Arterial Wall Mechanics and a Comparative Study of Material Models

  • Gerhard A. Holzapfel
  • Thomas C. Gasser
  • Ray W. Ogden


In this paper we develop a new constitutive law for the description of the (passive) mechanical response of arterial tissue. The artery is modeled as a thick-walled nonlinearly elastic circular cylindrical tube consisting of two layers corresponding to the media and adventitia (the solid mechanically relevant layers in healthy tissue). Each layer is treated as a fiber-reinforced material with the fibers corresponding to the collagenous component of the material and symmetrically disposed with respect to the cylinder axis. The resulting constitutive law is orthotropic in each layer. Fiber orientations obtained from a statistical analysis of histological sections from each arterial layer are used. A specific form of the law, which requires only three material parameters for each layer, is used to study the response of an artery under combined axial extension, inflation and torsion. The characteristic and very important residual stress in an artery in vitro is accounted for by assuming that the natural (unstressed and unstrained) configuration of the material corresponds to an open sector of a tube, which is then closed by an initial bending to form a load-free, but stressed, circular cylindrical configuration prior to application of the extension, inflation and torsion. The effect of residual stress on the stress distribution through the deformed arterial wall in the physiological state is examined.

The model is fitted to available data on arteries and its predictions are assessed for the considered combined loadings. It is explained how the new model is designed to avoid certain mechanical, mathematical and computational deficiencies evident in currently available phenomenological models. A critical review of these models is provided by way of background to the development of the new model.

biomechanics arteries artery wall material models constitutive laws finite deformations nonlinear elasticity 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerhard A. Holzapfel
    • 1
  • Thomas C. Gasser
    • 1
  • Ray W. Ogden
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute for Structural Analysis – Computational BiomechanicsGraz University of TechnologyGrazAustria
  2. 2.Department of MathematicsUniversity of GlasgowU.K.
  3. 3.University GardensGlasgowU.K.

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