Chorioamnion, the membrane surrounding a fetus during gestation, is a structural soft tissue critical for maintaining a successful pregnancy and delivery. However, the mechanical behavior of this tissue membrane is poorly understood. The structural component of chorioamnion is the amnion sublayer, which provides the membrane's mechanical integrity via a dense collagen network and is the focus of this investigation. Amnion uniaxial and planar equi-biaxial tension testing was performed using cyclic loading and stress-relaxation. Cyclic testing demonstrated dramatic energy dissipation in the first cycle followed by less hysteresis on subsequent cycles. Fractional energy dissipation per cycle was strain dependent, with greatest dissipation at small strain levels. Stress-relaxation testing demonstrated a level-dependent response and continued relaxation after long relaxation times. A nonlinear viscoelastic (separable) hereditary integral approach was inadequate to model the amnion response due to intrinsic coupling of the strain- and time-dependent responses.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported in part by the Women’s Health Fund at the University of Minnesota and by the Materials Research Science & Engineering Center Program of the National Science Foundation under Award No. DMR-0212302.
Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.