There are disparate views on the effects of temperature on the mechanical properties of ligaments and tendons. We attempted to resolve the inconsistencies by testing the medial collateral ligaments of twelve, three-month old New Zealand white rabbits in both elastic-dominated and viscous-dominated tests between 25°C and 55°C. We found that in elastic-dominated monotonic loading, the loading portions of the loadextension curves were mathematically similar. Differences could be accounted for through a base-line shift of the origin caused by additional relaxation and thermal contraction/expansion of the apparatus and specimen. In tests where the viscous component of behavior was manifest, we found results similar to those of other investigators. Thus we conclude that in assessing the effects of temperature on the mechanical properties of tissues it is important to account for both temperature and initial positions of the apparatus and specimen, and to consider the effects of both relaxation and thermal contraction/expansion.

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