In the current work, we investigate the effect of aging on the viscosity of tendon subunits. To that scope, wemake use of experimental relaxation curves of healthy and aged tendon fascicles and fibers, upon which we identify the viscosity parameters characterizing the time-dependent behavior of each tendon subunit. We subsequently combine the obtained results with analytical viscoelastic homogenization analysis methods to extract information on the effective viscous contribution of the embedding matrix substance at the fiber scale. The results suggest that the matrix substance plays a significant role in the relaxation process of the upper tendon subunits both for aged and healthy specimens. What ismore, the viscosity coefficients computed for the fibrillar components indicate that aging leads to a viscosity reduction that is statistically significant for both fascicles and fibers. Its impact is more prominent for the lower hierarchical scale of fibers. As such, the reduced stress relaxation capability at the tendon macroscale is to be primarily attributed to the modified viscosity of its inner fibrillar subunits rather than to the matrix substance.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering