Residual Stresses in Biological Materials

  • Herbert Silva
  • Drew NelsonEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Conference Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Mechanics Series book series (CPSEMS)


Examples of methods for determining residual stresses and strains (RSS) in biological materials are reviewed and postulated roles of RSS in biomechanical behavior described. Residual strains are thought to exert a particularly important influence on the behavior of arteries. For several decades, determination of those strains has relied on the opening angle method, in which a ring removed from an artery is slit radially, causing the ring to spring open. The change in geometry of the ring provides input to analytical relations for estimating circumferential residual strains. The wall of an artery, which has three layers, contains a mixture of elastin, collagen fibrils and muscle cells. An attempt to use small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) to characterize residual strains using collagen fibrils as internal “micro strain sensors” is presented. First, the results of SAXS experiments to investigate the response of collagen fibrils to strains applied to arterial tissue are presented. Strains as measured in fibrils are compared to those applied to the tissue. Then, SAXS experiments to explore residual strains in collagen fibrils within rings of arterial tissue are described. Results are compared to tissue-level residual strains estimated from the opening angle method.


Artery Collagen Diffraction X-ray Residual stress 


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Copyright information

© Society for Experimental Mechanics, Inc. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mechanical Engineering DepartmentStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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