Several optical-based techniques for measuring the sample thickness (ST) of soft tissues have been proposed in the literature to overcome the limits of hand-operated procedures. However, ST measurement still remains arbitrary. The stress calculated during an experimental procedure, usually based on a constant thickness value for all samples, cannot be considered representative of the actual stress experienced by the tissue. Therefore, a new optical methodology to measure ST is proposed and compared to four different thickness estimations. A simplified aortic geometry, under physiologic pulsatile conditions, is used to assess the impact of ST measurement on stress predictions. An additional computational model investigates the effect of such thickness values on critical pressure levels that may instigate aneurysm formation in a homogeneous or artificially modified geometry. Comparing the results obtained for the application of a pulsatile load, wall stress values associated to minimum ST are at least 24 kPa inferior to maximum ST. Critical pressure values appear to be inversely proportional to ST estimation: simulations, associated to maximum ST, predict aneurysm formation for pressure levels at least 7 kPa inferior to minimum ST outcomes. Finally, the role of the strain-energy function used to fit the experimental data is demonstrated to be fundamental for predictions of aneurysm formation.
- soft issue
- finite element