Effect of strain rate on the mechanical properties of staphylococcus epidermidis biofilms

Srijan Aggarwal, Raymond M Hozalski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The quantification of biofilm mechanical properties can serve as a basis for understanding biofilm resilience and for developing biofilm control strategies. One aspect of tensile testing that is likely to be important for a viscoelastic material such as bacterial biofilm, but unfortunately is often overlooked (i.e., not controlled or reported), is the strain rate used during testing. Thus, we performed tensile testing on intact S. epidermidis biofilms using the microcantilever method at 12 strain rate values ranging over approximately 3 orders of magnitude (0.013-9.07 s -1). Ultimate or cohesive strength, elastic modulus, and toughness increased with increasing strain rate and approached a plateau at approximately 1.3 s -1. Failure strain, on the other hand, did not exhibit any trend with strain rate. Given that the mean values of some parameters increased by as much as 1 order of magnitude over the strain rate range used in this work, we suggest that the strain rate during tensile testing should be carefully controlled and reported to facilitate comparisons among different studies. Furthermore, the quantitative expressions developed in this work that relate mechanical property values with strain rate may be useful for modeling the deformation of bacterial biofilms under applied loads.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2812-2816
Number of pages5
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 7 2012


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