Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 50, Issue 6, pp 2616–2625 | Cite as

Laminar tendon composites with enhanced mechanical properties

  • Kyle A. Alberti
  • Jeong-Yun Sun
  • Widusha R. Illeperuma
  • Zhigang Suo
  • Qiaobing Xu
Original Paper


A strong isotropic material that is both biocompatible and biodegradable is desired for many biomedical applications, including rotator cuff repair, tendon and ligament repair, vascular grafting, among others. Recently, we developed a technique, called “bioskiving” to create novel 2D and 3D constructs from decellularized tendon, using a combination of mechanical sectioning, and layered stacking and rolling. The unidirectionally aligned collagen nanofibers (derived from sections of decellularized tendon) offer good mechanical properties to the constructs compared with those fabricated from reconstituted collagen. In this paper, we studied the effect that several variables have on the mechanical properties of structures fabricated from tendon slices, including crosslinking density and the orientation in which the fibers are stacked. We observed that following stacking and crosslinking, the strength of the constructs is significantly improved, with crosslinked sections having an ultimate tensile strength over 20 times greater than non-crosslinked samples, and a modulus nearly 50 times higher. The mechanism of the mechanical failure mode of the tendon constructs with or without crosslinking was also investigated. The strength and fiber organization, combined with the ability to introduce transversely isotropic mechanical properties makes the laminar tendon composites a biocompatible material that may find future use in a number of biomedical and tissue engineering applications.


Rotator Cuff Ultimate Tensile Strength Collagen Fibril Fiber Orientation Crosslinking Density 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



QX acknowledges Pew Scholar for Biomedical Sciences program from Pew Charitable Trusts and NIH (1R03EB017402-01). KA acknowledges the IGERT fellowship from NSF and a Predoctoral Fellowship from the American Heart Association. This work utilized the facilities at the Harvard University Center for Nanoscale Systems (CNS), a member of the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN), which is supported by the National Science Foundation under NSF award no. ECS-0335765. We would also like to thank Todd Fritz for the photographs of the tendon sections in Fig. 1.


The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

10853_2015_8842_MOESM1_ESM.tif (550 kb)
Supplementary Fig. 1 Tabulated data for: A) crosslinking in Fig. 3, B) pulling angle tests in Fig. 5, and C) stacking angle tests in Fig. 6. Native rat tendon has been shown to have a UTS of 64.1 ± 3.87 MPa and a modulus of 632 ± 51.3 MPa [16] (TIFF 549 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kyle A. Alberti
    • 1
  • Jeong-Yun Sun
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Widusha R. Illeperuma
    • 2
    • 3
  • Zhigang Suo
    • 2
    • 3
  • Qiaobing Xu
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biomedical EngineeringTufts UniversityMedfordUSA
  2. 2.School of Engineering and Applied SciencesHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.Kavli Institute for Bionano Science and TechnologyHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  4. 4.Department of Materials Science and EngineeringSeoul National UniversitySeoulKorea

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