A Microstructural Model for the Tensile Constitutive and Failure Behavior of Soft Skeletal Connective Tissues

[+] Author and Article Information
T. A. L. Wren, D. R. Carter

Rehabilitation Research & Development Center, Veterans Affairs Health Care System, Palo Alto, CA 94304; Biomechanical Engineering Division, Mechanical Engineering Department, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305

J Biomech Eng 120(1), 55-61 (Feb 01, 1998) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2834307 History: Received May 25, 1996; Revised January 03, 1997; Online January 07, 2008


We propose a microstructural model for the uniaxial tensile constitutive and failure behavior of soft skeletal connective tissues. The model characterizes the tissues as two-phase composites consisting of collagen fibers embedded in ground substance. Nonlinear toe region behavior in the stress versus strain curve results from the straightening of crimped fibers and from fiber reorientation. Subsequent linear behavior results from fiber stretching affected by fiber volume fraction, collagen type, crosslink density, and fiber orientation. Finally, the tissue fails when fibers successively rupture at their ultimate tensile strain. We apply the model to tendon, meniscus, and articular cartilage. The model provides a consistent approach to modeling the tensile behavior of a wide range of soft skeletal connective tissues.

Copyright © 1998 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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