The measurement of the variation in the surface strains of Achilles tendon grafts using imaging techniques.
Uniaxial tensile tests are commonly used to characterize the structural and material properties of tendons and ligaments. During these tests, the stress and strain distributions applied to the specimen are assumed to be uniform. However, few studies have investigated the strain distributions throughout the tissue. The purpose of this study was to use imaging techniques to measure the strains around the circumference of 11 mm wide Achilles tendon grafts during a uniaxial tensile test. Pairs of radiopaque beads with a diameter of 2mm were affixed around the mid-substance of the tendon in four different locations. The motion of the beads was recorded using a cine fluoroscope. This system was shown to measure the displacement of the beads with an accuracy of 0.02 mm. During the uniaxial tensile test, large variations in local tissue strains were observed. At 10 MPa of applied stress, the local tissue strain varied from an average of 2.5-8.7%, an increase in strain of more than three times. As a result of these large variations, the modulus calculated from the stress-strain data varied from an average of 217 to 897 MPa, an increase of approximately 4 times. Furthermore, these data suggest that underestimates of the elastic modulus may result if a uniform strain distribution is assumed. These results indicate that during uniaxial tensile tests, the assumption of uniform stress and strain distributions should be carefully considered and small, uniform specimens should be used when measuring the material properties of soft tissues.
Defrate, LE; van der Ven, A; Boyer, PJ; Gill, TJ; Li, G
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