Accurate tissue stress predictions for the annulus fibrosus are essential for understanding the factors that cause or contribute to disc degeneration and mechanical failure. Current computational models used to predict in vivo disc stresses utilize material laws for annular tissue that are not rigorously validated against experimental data. Consequently, predictions of disc stress resulting from physical activities may be inaccurate and therefore unreliable as a basis for defining mechanical–biologic injury criteria. To address this need we present a model for the annulus as an isotropic ground substance reinforced with two families of collagen fibers, and an approach for determining the material constants by simultaneous consideration of multiple experimental data sets. Two strain energy functions for the annulus are proposed and used in the theory to derive the constitutive equations relating the stress to pure stretch deformations. These equations are applied to four distinct experimental protocols and the material constants are determined from a simultaneous, nonlinear regression analysis. Good agreement between theory and experiment is achieved when the invariants are included within multiple, separate exponentials in the strain energy function.


Mechanical Engineering



URL: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/meng_fac/14