Journal article

A strain energy function for arteries accounting for wall composition and structure.

Identification of a Strain Energy Function (SEF) is used when describing the complex mechanical properties of soft biological tissues such as the arterial wall. Classic SEFs, such as the one proposed by Chuong and Fung (J. Biomech. Eng. 105(3) (1983) 268), have been mostly phenomenological and neglect the particularities of the wall structure. A more structural model was proposed by Holzapfel et al. (J. Elasticity 61 (2000) 1-48.) when they included the characteristic angle at which the collagen fibers are helically wrapped, resulting in an excellent SEF for applications such as finite element modeling. We have expanded upon the idea of structural SEFs by including not only the wavy nature of the collagen but also the fraction of both elastin and collagen contained in the media, which can be determined by histology. The waviness of the collagen is assumed to be distributed log-logistically. In order to evaluate this novel SEF, we have used it to fit experimental data from inflation-extension tests performed on rat carotids. We have compared the results of the fit to the SEFs of Choung and Fung and Holzapfel et al. The novel SEF is found to behave similarly to that of Holzapfel et al., both succeed in describing the typical S-shaped pressure-radius curves with comparable quality of fit. The parameters of the novel SEF obtained from the fitting, bearing the physical meaning of the elastic modulus of collagen, the elastic modulus of elastin, the collagen waviness, and the collagen fiber angle, were compared to experimental data and discussed.


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