Compressive Viscoelasticity of Freshly Excised Mouse Skin Is Dependent on Specimen Thickness, Strain Level and Rate

Wang, Yuxiang; Marshall, Kara L.; Baba, Yoshichika; Lumpkin, Ellen A.; Gerling, Gregory J.

Although the skin’s mechanical properties are well characterized in tension, little work has been done in compression. Here, the viscoelastic properties of a population of mouse skin specimens (139 samples from 36 mice, aged 5 to 34 weeks) were characterized upon varying specimen thickness, as well as strain level and rate. Over the population, we observed the skin’s viscoelasticity to be quite variable, yet found systematic correlation of residual stress ratio with skin thickness and strain, and of relaxation time constants with strain rates. In particular, as specimen thickness ranged from 211 to 671 μm, we observed significant variation in both quasi-linear viscoelasticity (QLV) parameters, the relaxation time constant (τ1 = 0.19 ± 0.10 s) and steady-state residual stress ratio (G∞ = 0.28 ± 0.13). Moreover, when τ1 was decoupled and fixed, we observed that G∞ positively correlated with skin thickness. Second, as steady-state stretch was increased (λ∞ from 0.22 to 0.81), we observed significant variation in both QLV parameters (τ1 = 0.26 ± 0.14 s, G∞ = 0.47 ± 0.17), and when τ1 was fixed, G∞ positively correlated with stretch level. Third, as strain rate was increased from 0.06 to 22.88 s−1, the median time constant τ1 varied from 1.90 to 0.31 s, and thereby negatively correlated with strain rate. These findings indicate that the natural range of specimen thickness, as well as experimental controls of compression level and rate, significantly influence measurements of skin viscoelasticity.


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Physiology and Cellular Biophysics
Published Here
January 6, 2016