The unconfined compression experiments are commonly used for characterizing the mechanical behavior of hydrated soft tissues such as articular cartilage. Several analytical constitutive models have been proposed over the years to analyze the unconfined compression experimental data and subsequently estimate the material parameters. Nevertheless, new mathematical models are still required to obtain more accurate numerical estimates. The present study aims at developing a linear transversely isotropic poroviscoelastic theory by combining a viscoelastic material law with the transversely isotropic biphasic model. In particular, an integral type viscoelastic model is used to describe the intrinsic viscoelastic properties of a transversely isotropic solid matrix. The proposed constitutive theory incorporates viscoelastic contributions from both the fluid flow and the intrinsic viscoelasticity to the overall stress-relaxation behavior. Moreover, this new material model allows investigating the biomechanical properties of tissues whose extracellular matrix exhibits transverse isotropy. In the present work, a comprehensive parametric study was conducted to determine the influence of various material parameters on the stress–relaxation history. Furthermore, the efficacy of the proposed theory in representing the unconfined compression experiments was assessed by comparing its theoretical predictions with those obtained from other versions of the biphasic theory such as the isotropic, transversely isotropic, and viscoelastic models. The unconfined compression behavior of articular cartilage as well as corneal stroma was used for this purpose. It is concluded that while the proposed model is capable of accurately representing the viscoelastic behavior of any hydrated soft tissue in unconfined compression, it is particularly useful in modeling the behavior of those with a transversely isotropic skeleton.

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