Though it is widely accepted that fiber alignment has a great influence on the mechanical anisotropy of tissues, a systematic study of the influence of fiber alignment on the macroscopic mechanical behavior by native tissues is precluded due to their predefined microstructure and heterogeneity. Such a study is possible using collagen-based bioartificial tissues that allow for alignment to be prescribed during their fabrication. To generate a systemic variation of strength of fiber alignment, we made cruciform tissue constructs in Teflon molds that had arms of different aspect ratios. We implemented our anisotropic biphasic theory of tissue-equivalent mechanics to simulate the compaction by finite element analysis. Prior to tensile testing, the construct geometry was standardized by cutting test samples with a 1:1 cruciform punch after releasing constructs from the molds. Planar biaxial testing was performed on these samples, after stretching them to their in-mold dimensions to recover in-mold alignment, to observe the macroscopic mechanical response with simultaneous fiber alignment imaging using a polarimetry system. We found that the strength of fiber alignment of the samples prior to release from the molds linearly increased with anisotropy of the mold. In testing after release, modulus ratio (modulus in fiber direction/modulus in normal direction) was greater as the initial strength of fiber alignment increased, that is, as the aspect ratio increased. We also found that the fiber alignment strength and modulus ratio increased in a hyperbolic fashion with stretching for a sample of given aspect ratio.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering
- Physiology (medical)