The tensile strength of skin is associated, in part, with its potential for laceration from impact. The quasi-static tensile strength of skin depends on orientation. The objective of this study was to determine whether the strength of skin in high speed tensile failure experiments exhibits a similar dependence on orientation. Tensile experiments were conducted at 6000 percent/s and 30 percent/s on dorsal skin of rats aged 1–6 months. Experiments were performed on specimens cut perpendicularly and longitudinally to the spine at cranial and caudal locations. The tensile failure properties depended on location, orientation, age and strain rate. The strength was dependent on orientation to the same degree in high and low speed tests. This helps explain why accident statistics show that skin lacerates preferentially on the body.

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