A pipette aspiration technique was proposed for the measurement of nonlinear mechanical properties of arteries under biaxial stretching. A cross-shaped specimen of porcine thoracic aorta whose principal axes corresponded with the axial and circumferential directions of the aortic walls was excised. The intraluminal surface of the specimen was aspirated with a circular cross-sectioned glass pipette while the specimen was stretching in the axial and circumferential directions in 10% increments. The elastic modulus agreed with the incremental elastic modulus obtained through a conventional pressure-diameter test of the same specimen to within an error of 30% at a circumferential stretch ratio below 1.3 and an axial stretch ratio of 1.0, 1.1 or 1.2, which represent lower range of physiological stretch ratios for the porcine aorta. A rectangular cross-sectioned pipette was utilized to measure anisotropic properties of the specimen under biaxial stretching. When aspirated with such a pipette, the specimens' elastic properties along the length of the rectangular pipette cross section can be neglected. The elastic modulus was found to increase rapidly when the specimen was stretched in the direction of the pipette's width. Thus, pipette aspiration should have many advantages such as well measurement of the local nonlinear and anisotropic mechanical properties of blood vessel walls.
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