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J Mech Behav Biomed Mater. 2012 Mar;7:60-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jmbbm.2011.05.027. Epub 2011 May 25.

Elastic and viscoelastic characterization of agar.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


Agar is a biological polymer, frequently used in tissue engineering research; due to its consistency, controllable size, and concentration-based properties, it often serves as a representative material for actual biological tissues. In this study, nanoindentation was used to characterize both the time-independent and time-dependent response of agar samples having various concentrations (0.5%-5.0% by weight). Quasi-static indentation was performed at different loads and depths using both open- and closed-loop controls. Reduced modulus (Er) values change with agar concentration, ranging from ∼30 kPa for 0.5% samples to ∼700 kPa for 5.0% samples, which is the same modulus range as usually encountered in soft biological materials. Dynamic indentation was performed to assess the effects of load, dynamic frequency and amplitude. Storage modulus values ranged from approximately 30 to 2300 kPa depending on agar concentration. Loss modulus remained consistently less than 30 kPa at all conditions, indicating a diminished damping response in agar.

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