Mullins effect in human aorta described with limiting extensibility evolution
Cyclic uni-axial tensile tests with samples of human aorta were performed with an aim to obtain data describing the Mullins effect of arterial tissue. According to presumed anisotropy, reported widely, both samples oriented longitudinally and circumferentially were tested. Each of tested samples underwent cyclic tension up to a particular value of a stretch four times, consecutively maximum limit of reached stretch was increased and subsequent four cycles were performed. Significant stress softening of aortic tissue and residual strains were confirmed. An idealization was made in such a way that reloading and unloading curves are coincident. It was hypothesized that the stress softening observed within reloading of previously loaded tissue may be described by an evolution of material parameters. These parameters should be related to an alternation of internal structure. We proposed a model based on changes in limiting fiber extensibility of fibrillar component of the aortic wall, primarily represented by a collagen. The arterial wall was assumed to be hyperelastic transversely isotropic material with different response under primary loading and unloading. A stored energy function was additively split into isotropic and anisotropic part. Preferred direction in continuum, defined in referential configuration, was assumed to be unchanged with cyclic loading. Every straining level in the cyclic test had its own value of fiber extensibility related to strain maximum previously reached. The isotropic matrix response was modeled using Neo-Hooke term with shear modulus values different under primary loading and reloading, however all reloading values were held the same. The predictions of the model described above were in good agreement with observations.
Keywordsaorta damage limiting fiber extensibility Mullins effect stress softening
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