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Phys Med Biol. 2008 Sep 7;53(17):4543-54. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/53/17/006. Epub 2008 Aug 1.

Fractional-order viscoelasticity applied to describe uniaxial stress relaxation of human arteries.

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Facultad de IngenierĂ­a, Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Favaloro University, Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Viscoelastic models can be used to better understand arterial wall mechanics in physiological and pathological conditions. The arterial wall reveals very slow time-dependent decays in uniaxial stress-relaxation experiments, coherent with weak power-law functions. Quasi-linear viscoelastic (QLV) theory was successfully applied to modeling such responses, but an accurate estimation of the reduced relaxation function parameters can be very difficult. In this work, an alternative relaxation function based on fractional calculus theory is proposed to describe stress relaxation experiments in strips cut from healthy human aortas. Stress relaxation (1 h) was registered at three incremental stress levels. The novel relaxation function with three parameters was integrated into the QLV theory to fit experimental data. It was based in a modified Voigt model, including a fractional element of order alpha, called spring-pot. The stress-relaxation prediction was accurate and fast. Sensitivity plots for each parameter presented a minimum near their optimal values. Least-squares errors remained below 2%. Values of order alpha = 0.1-0.3 confirmed a predominant elastic behavior. The other two parameters of the model can be associated to elastic and viscous constants that explain the time course of the observed relaxation function. The fractional-order model integrated into the QLV theory proved to capture the essential features of the arterial wall mechanical response.

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