Acta Mechanica Sinica

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 589–599 | Cite as

Non-contact tensile viscoelastic characterization of microscale biological materials

  • Yuhui Li
  • Yuan Hong
  • Guang-Kui Xu
  • Shaobao Liu
  • Qiang Shi
  • Deding Tang
  • Hui Yang
  • Guy M. Genin
  • Tian Jian Lu
  • Feng Xu
Research Paper


Many structures and materials in nature and physiology have important “meso-scale” structures at the micron length-scale whose tensile responses have proven difficult to characterize mechanically. Although techniques such as atomic force microscopy and micro- and nano-identation are mature for compression and indentation testing at the nano-scale, and standard uniaxial and shear rheometry techniques exist for the macroscale, few techniques are applicable for tensile-testing at the micrometre-scale, leaving a gap in our understanding of hierarchical biomaterials. Here, we present a novel magnetic mechanical testing (MMT) system that enables viscoelastic tensile testing at this critical length scale. The MMT system applies non-contact loading, avoiding gripping and surface interaction effects. We demonstrate application of the MMT system to the first analyses of the pure tensile responses of several native and engineered tissue systems at the mesoscale, showing the broad potential of the system for exploring micro- and meso-scale analysis of structured and hierarchical biological systems.


Mechanical testing Hierarchical biomaterials Non-contact actuation Microscale analysis 



This project was partially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grants 11532009, 11372243, and 11522219) and the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (Grant 2016M602810). This project was also supported by the Initiative Postdocs Supporting Program (Grant BX201600121).


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Copyright information

© The Chinese Society of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics; Institute of Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yuhui Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yuan Hong
    • 1
    • 2
  • Guang-Kui Xu
    • 3
  • Shaobao Liu
    • 2
  • Qiang Shi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Deding Tang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hui Yang
    • 4
  • Guy M. Genin
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
  • Tian Jian Lu
    • 2
  • Feng Xu
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.The Key Laboratory of Biomedical Information Engineering of Ministry of EducationSchool of Life Science and Technology, Xi’an Jiaotong UniversityXi’anChina
  2. 2.Biomedical Engineering and Biomechanics Center (BEBC)Xi’an Jiaotong UniversityXi’anChina
  3. 3.International Center for Applied Mechanics, State Key Laboratory for Strength and Vibration of Mechanical StructuresXi’an Jiaotong UniversityXi’anChina
  4. 4.School of Life SciencesNorthwestern Polytechnical UniversityXi’anChina
  5. 5.The NSF Science and Technology Center for Engineering Mechano-BiologyWashington UniversitySaint LouisUSA

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