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J Biomech. 1987;20(3):251-60.

Ultrasound propagation in anisotropic soft tissues: the application of linear elastic theory.


Linear elastic theory has served well in modeling the mechanical properties of numerous materials. In modeling ultrasonic wave propagation in biological soft tissues, an isotropic model has usually been employed. Many tissues, however, possess a lower order of symmetry, and the speed of sound in muscle is known to vary with the direction of propagation. In this study, by applying linear regression to acoustic microscopic data from seven frog sartorius specimens, four observable elastic constants associated with a transversely isotropic model were obtained. The average values of these constants were c11 = 2.64, c13 = 3.39 and c33 = 4.40 Nm-2 for resting muscles and c11 = 2.65, c13 = 3.43 and c33 = 4.57 Nm-2 for muscles undergoing tetanic contraction, where '1' and '3' represent the transverse and longitudinal axes, respectively. In all cases, c44 was 0, indicating a minimal contribution from longitudinal shear. For all seven specimens, the model of transverse isotropy provided a better fit of the data than that of isotropy.

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