Identification of elastic properties of homogeneous, orthotropic vascular segments in distension Academic Article uri icon


  • Characterization of the constitutive behavior of normal and pathological blood vessel segments could provide the clinician with a means to predict the onset and assess the severity of certain vascular maladies. Many of the constitutive models that have been proposed to date either fail to properly consider certain features of the anatomic structure and function of vascular tissue or are so mathematically complex that their utilization is intractable. We have developed a material identification technique that first required the adaptation and validation of a constitutive law describing the nonlinear, three-dimensional behavior of orthotropic, compressible, hyperelastic vascular segments. By coupling a nonlinear finite element program and experimental data with a robust nonlinear least-squares regression algorithm, a set of elastic parameters (moduli) is obtained. Regressions on data for a canine carotid artery and rabbit infrarenal aorta yielded coefficients of variation of 0.21 and 0.08, respectively. The estimated moduli demonstrated certain trends found by other investigators: both the canine carotid artery and rabbit aorta were found to be stiffer radially than circumferentially, and the former was found to be stiffer circumferentially than longitudinally. Using these material constants and measured arterial pressures, the stress distribution was computed for each specimen. The predicted radial stress was consistent with a transmural variation of approximately--p (applied luminal pressure) to approximately zero in both specimens, while the circumferential stresses ranged from 2.2p to 0.7p for the canine carotid, and from 6.4p to 3.7p for the rabbit aorta. The stress distributions qualitatively agreed with those reported in previous investigations, as well as with certain physiologic observations. Based on the results of our two sample cases, we believe that our technique could be beneficial to the assessment of the three-dimensional, anisotropic behavior of vascular tissue.

author list (cited authors)

  • Vorp, D. A., Rajagopal, K. R., Smolinski, P. J., & Borovetz, H. S.

citation count

  • 53

complete list of authors

  • Vorp, DA||Rajagopal, KR||Smolinski, PJ||Borovetz, HS

publication date

  • May 1995