Measurement of biaxial mechanical properties of soft tubes and arteries using piezoelectric elements and sonometry

Miguel Bernal, Matthew W. Urban, Daniel Rosario, Wilkins Aquino, James F. Greenleaf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Arterial elasticity has gained importance in recent decades because it has been shown to be an independent predictor of cardiovascular diseases. Several in vivo and ex vivo techniques have been developed to characterize the elastic properties of vessels. In vivo techniques tend to ignore the anisotropy of the mechanical properties in the vessel wall, and therefore fail to characterize elasticity in different directions. Ex vivo techniques have been focused on studying the mechanical properties in different axes. In this paper, we present a technique that uses piezoelectric elements to measure the elasticity of soft tubes and excised arteries in two directions while maintaining the natural structure of these vessels. This technique uses sonometry data from piezoelectric elements to measure the strain in the longitudinal and circumferential directions while the tubes/arteries are being pressurized. We conducted experiments on urethane tubes to evaluate the technique and compared the experimental results with mechanical testing done on the materials used for making the tubes. We then performed sonometry experiments on excised pig carotid arteries assuming that they are transversely isotropic materials. To evaluate the sensitivity of this technique to changes in the material properties, we changed the temperature of the saline bath in which the arteries were immersed. The calculated Young's modulus from sonometry experiments for the urethane tubes and the mechanical testing values showed good agreement, deviating no more than 13.1%. The elasticity values from the excised arteries and the behavior with the temperature changed agreed with previous work done in similar arteries. Therefore, we propose this technique for nondestructive testing of the biaxial properties of soft material tubes and excised arteries in their natural physiological shape.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3371-3386
Number of pages16
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 7 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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