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In order to investigate the three-dimensional (3-D) mechanical properties of blood vessels, a new experimental device is described allowing in vitro static and dynamic measurements on segments of arteries with high technical performances. Static tests are applied to sheep common carotid arteries. Considering a thick-walled cylindrical model of orthotropic material under large deformations, a classical 3-D approach based on strain energy density is used to calculate the resulting mechanical behavior law in radial and circumferencial directions and stresses distribution throughout the wall thickness. Results are presented with reference to unloaded and zero-stress initial state thanks to simple measurements of inner and outer circumferences. A particular ratio relating the two main stresses (circumferential and longitudinal) is calculated that put into the forth the progressive modifications in the direction of the predominant stress in the wall and the specific radial location where these changes occur. The authors observe that this point location is a function of the test conditions of the specimen, i.e., stretching length and level of pressure.
Date of Publication: April 2001