Ligament volumetric behavior controls fluid and thus nutrient movement as well as the mechanical response of the tissue to applied loads. The reported Poisson’s ratios for tendon and ligament subjected to tensile deformation loading along the fiber direction are large, ranging from 0.8 ± 0.3 in rat tail tendon fascicles [1] to 2.98 ± 2.59 in bovine flexor tendon [2]. These Poisson’s ratios are indicative of volume loss and thus fluid exudation [3,4]. We have developed micromechanical finite element models that can reproduce both the characteristic nonlinear stress-strain behavior and large, strain-dependent Poisson’s ratios seen in tendons and ligaments [5], but these models are computationally expensive and unfeasible for large scale, whole joint models. The objectives of this research were to develop an anisotropic, continuum based constitutive model for ligaments and tendons that can describe strain-dependent Poisson’s ratios much larger than the isotropic limit of 0.5. Further, we sought to demonstrate the ability of the model to describe experimental data, and to show that the model can be combined with biphasic theory to describe the rate- and time-dependent behavior of ligament and tendon.

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