Supra-physiological temperatures are increasingly being used to treat many different soft tissue diseases and injuries. To identify improved clinical treatments, however, there is a need for better information on the effect of the mechanics on the thermal damage process as well as the effect of the incurred damage on the subsequent mechanical properties. In this paper, we report the first biaxial data on the stress relaxation behavior of a collagenous tissue before and after thermal damage. Based on a two-dimensional finite strain viscoelastic model, which incorporates an exponential elastic response, it is shown that the thermal damage can significantly decrease the characteristic time for stress relaxation and the stress residual.

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