A finite deformation mixture theory is used to quantify the mechanical properties of the annulus fibrosus using experimental data obtained from a confined compression protocol. Certain constitutive assumptions are introduced to derive a special mixture of an elastic solid and an inviscid fluid, and the constraint of intrinsic incompressibility is introduced in a manner that is consistent with results obtained for the special theory. Thirty-two annulus fibrosus specimens oriented in axial (n = 16) and radial (n = 16) directions were obtained from the middle-lateral portion of intact intervertebral discs from human lumbar spines and tested in a stress-relaxation protocol. Material constants are determined by fitting the theory to experimental data representing the equilibrium stress versus stretch and the surface stress time history curves. No significant differences in material constants due to orientation existed, but significant differences existed due to the choice of theory used to fit the data. In comparison with earlier studies with healthy annular tissue, we report a lower aggregate modulus and a higher initial permeability constant. These differences are explained by the choice of reference configuration for the experimental studies.


Biomechanical Engineering

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