Stress Wave Velocities in Bovine Patellar Tendon

[+] Author and Article Information
J. J. Crisco

Department of Orthopædics, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI 02903, Division of Engineering, Brown University, Providence, RI

T. C. Dunn

Division of Engineering, Brown University, Providence, RI 02222

R. D. McGovern

Department of Orthopædics, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI 02903

J Biomech Eng 120(3), 321-326 (Jun 01, 1998) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2797997 History: Received June 30, 1996; Revised October 15, 1997; Online October 30, 2007


The velocity of longitudinal stress waves in an elastic body is given by the square root of the ratio of its elastic modulus to its density. In tendinous and ligamentous tissue, the elastic modulus increases with strain and with strain rate. Therefore, it was postulated that stress wave velocity would also increase with increasing strain and strain rate. The purpose of this study was to determine the velocity of stress waves in tendinous tissue as a function of strain and to compare these values to those predicted using the elastic modulus derived from quasi-static testing. Five bovine patellar tendons were harvested and potted as bone–tendon–bone specimens. Quasi-static mechanical properties were determined in tension at a deformation rate of 100 mm/s. Impact loading was employed to determine wave velocity at various strain levels, achieved by preloading the tendon. Following impact, there was a measurable delay in force transmission across the specimen and this delay decreased with increasing tendon strain. The wave velocities at tendon strains of 0.0075, 0.015, and 0.0225 were determined to be 260 ± 52 m/s, 360 ± 71 m/s, and 461 ± 94 m/s, respectively. These velocities were significantly (p < 0.01) faster than those predicted using elastic moduli derived from the quasi-static tests by 52, 45, and 41 percent, respectively. This study has documented that stress wave velocity in patellar tendon increases with increasing strain and is underestimated with a modulus estimated from quasi-static testing.

Copyright © 1998 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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