Aneurysms are abnormal dilatations of vessels in the vascular system that are prone to rupture. Prediction of the aneurysm rupture is a challenging and unsolved problem. Various factors can lead to the aneurysm rupture and, in the present study, we examine the effect of calcification on the aneurysm strength by using micromechanical modeling. The calcified tissue is considered as a composite material in which hard calcium particles are embedded in a hyperelastic soft matrix. Three experimentally calibrated constitutive models incorporating a failure description are used for the matrix representation. Two constitutive models describe the aneurysmal arterial wall and the third one - the intraluminal thrombus. The stiffness and strength of the calcified tissue are simulated in uniaxial tension under the varying amount of calcification, i.e. the relative volume of the hard inclusion within the periodic unit cell. In addition, the triaxiality of the stress state, which can be a trigger for the cavitation instability, is tracked. Results of the micromechanical simulation show an increase of the stiffness and a possible decrease of the strength of the calcified tissue as compared to the non-calcified one. The obtained results suggest that calcification (i.e. the presence of hard particles) can significantly affect the stiffness and strength of soft tissue. The development of refined experimental techniques that will allow for the accurate quantitative assessment of calcification is desirable.
|Number of pages
|Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
|Published - 1 Apr 2016