A novel shear-test device for soft biological tissue, capable of applying simple shear deformations simultaneously in two orthogonal directions while measuring the resulting forces generated in three axes, is described. We validated the device using a synthetic gel, the properties of which were ascertained from independent tensile and rotational shear tests. Material parameters for the gel were fitted using neo-Hookean analytical solutions to the independent test data, and these matched the results from the device. Preliminary results obtained with rat septal myocardium are also presented to demonstrate the feasibility of the apparatus in determining the shear characteristics of living tissue. [S0148-0731(00)00205-3]

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