Blood vessels are complex organs with hierarchical ultrastructures. Different kinds of structural supporting fibers, such as collagen and elastin fibers, are cross-linked in a three-dimensional manner to provide stiffness of the tissue. Elastin networks endow blood vessels critical mechanical properties, and are essential to accommodate deformations encountered during physiological functions. Many Pathological conditions involve significant changes in elastin. Therefore it is important to fully characterize and understand the mechanical properties of aorta and its elastin networks. Here we studied, both experimentally and theoretically, the mechanical responses of bovine aorta and its elastin under biaxial loading.

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