The Ring-Pull Assay for Mechanical Properties of Fibrous Soft Tissues – an Analysis of the Uniaxial Approximation and a Correction for Nonlinear Thick-Walled Tissues

R. R. Mahutga, C. T. Schoephoerster, V. H. Barocas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: The ring-pull test, where a ring of tissue is hooked via two pins and stretched, is a popular biomechanical test, especially for small arteries. Although convenient and reliable, the ring test produces inhomogeneous strain, making determination of material parameters non-trivial. Objective: To determine correction factors between ring-pull-estimated and true tissue properties. Methods: A finite-element model of ring pulling was constructed for a sample with nonlinear, anisotropic mechanical behavior typical of arteries. The pin force and sample cross-section were used to compute an apparent modulus at small and large strain, which were compared to the specified properties. The resulting corrections were validated with experiments on porcine and ovine arteries. The correction was further applied to experiments on mouse aortic rings to determine material and failure properties. Results: Calculating strain based on centerline stretch rather than inner-wall or outer-wall stretch afforded better estimation of tissue properties. Additional correction factors were developed based on ring wall thickness H, centerline ring radius Rc, and pin radius a. The corrected estimates for tissue properties were in good agreement with uniaxial stretch experiments. Conclusions: The computed corrections improved estimation of tissue material properties for both the small-strain (toe) modulus and the large-strain (lockout) modulus. When measuring tensile strength, one should minimize H/a to ensure that peak stress occurs at the sample midplane rather than near the pin. In this scenario, tensile strength can be estimated accurately by using inner-wall stretch at the midplane and the corrected properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalExperimental Mechanics
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Anisotropic
  • Arterial biomechanics
  • Cardiovascular biomechanics
  • Computational biomechanics
  • Large strain
  • Nonlinear
  • Soft biological tissue
  • Uniaxial ring-pull

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