Abstract

The mechanical behavior of the annulus fibrosus has typically been characterized through the use of uniaxial tests. In contrast, its in vivo constraints are multiaxial and likely result in a mechanical response very different from that observed to date in vitro. The goal of this study was to test the annulus in biaxial tension and use these data to determine an elastic strain energy function for the annulus. Our results demonstrate that the mechanical response of the annulus is dramatically influenced by a biaxial constraint, and that these experiments provide important data for the determination of the constitutive formulation for this strongly anisotropic and nonlinear tissue.

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