Biaxial Mechanical Evaluation of Planar Biological Materials

  • Michael S. Sacks


A fundamental goal in constitutive modeling is to predict the mechanical behavior of a material under a generalized loading state. To achieve this goal, rigorous experimentation involving all relevant deformations is necessary to obtain both the form and material constants of a strain-energy density function. For both natural biological tissues and tissue-derived soft biomaterials, there exist many physiological, surgical, and medical device applications where rigorous constitutive models are required. Since biological tissues are generally considered incompressible, planar biaxial testing allows for a two-dimensional stress-state that can be used to characterize fully their mechanical properties. Application of biaxial testing to biological tissues initially developed as an extension of the techniques developed for the investigation of rubber elasticity [43, 57]. However, whereas for rubber-like materials the continuum scale is that of large polymer molecules, it is at the fiber-level (∼1 μm) for soft biological tissues. This is underscored by the fact that the fibers that comprise biological tissues exhibit finite nonlinear stress-strain responses and undergo large strains and rotations, which together induce complex mechanical behaviors not easily accounted for in classic constitutive models. Accounting for these behaviors by careful experimental evaluation and formulation of a constitutive model continues to be a challenging area in biomechanics. The focus of this paper is to describe a history of the application of biaxial testing techniques to soft planar tissues, their relation to relevant modern biomechanical constitutive theories, and important future trends.

biaxial mechanical testing constitutive modeling of planar biomaterials homogeneity mechanical properties of collagenous tissues 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael S. Sacks
    • 1
  1. 1.Tissue Mechanics Laboratory, Department of BioengineeringUniversity of PittsburghU.S.A.

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