The 8th international symposium on

Biomechanics in Vascular Biology and Cardiovascular Disease

Numerical Study Using Cohesive Elements to Understand the Contribution of Strain Energy during Arterial Dissection
Bilal Merei, Susan M. Lessner , Michael A. Sutton, Stephane Avril, Pierre Badel
University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines, St.-Etienne, France

Introduction Arterial dissection is a rare but potentially fatal condition in which blood passes through the inner lining and between the layers of the artery. Dissection results in separation of the different layers of the arterial wall, creating a false lumen in the process. During separation, the total energy applied to the system is dissipated in two forms, the strain energy (or the energy stored in the material), and the energy released when the fracture extends (Griffith Criterion, G c). In order to explore the dissection properties of human coronary arteries, experimental peeling tests were performed. Using measured load-displacement curves, the fracture energy was calculated as the incremental area under the load-displacement curves, neglecting the contribution of the strain energy. The aim of this study is to determine conditions when the contribution of strain energy can properly be neglected in our experimental system. To do so, finite element simulations that incorporate cohesive elements to represent the fracture interface were performed in an effort to better estimate the fracture energy using our experimental curves. Methods The model used for simulations is a 2D model of an opened segment of human coronary artery, 0.4mm thick and 8mm long, with the media comprising the upper two-thirds and the adventitia the lower third of the vessel wall. The media itself is composed of two layers of equal thickness, separated by a zerothickness layer of cohesive elements, defining an upper part (media) and lower part (adventitia and media). A linear elastic model is used for media and adventitia using as Young’s modulus and Poisson’s ratio 0.8MPa and 0.45 for the media, and 0.4MPa and 0.45 for the adventitia, respectively. The assumed cohesive zone law is a bilinear function with critical fracture energy values of 0.005, 0.0025, 0.00125 N/mm used in our studies, which fall within the range of values obtained experimentally during peeling of human coronary artery media. Boundary conditions imposed on the specimen include clamping of the bottom edge and a horizontal displacement condition applied on the left edge of the upper part. To simulate the initial flaw, a notch of 1mm is created at the left edge between the layers before beginning the peeling simulation, consistent with our experimental protocol. Results Figure 1 shows the ratio of strain energy, S, to total energy, T, as a function of crack length. The three curves show that S/T decreases as the crack length increases. They also show that S/T is a function of the critical fracture energy value needed to extend the separation. The strain energy constitutes 10% of the total energy after delamination of (a) 2.3 mm for Gc=0.005N/mm, (b) 3.6 mm for Gc = 0.0025N/mm and (c) 5.3 mm for Gc = 0.0012 N/mm.

Figure 1: S/T for 3 energy values vs crack length Conclusions A numerical study was performed to estimate the contribution of the strain energy during experimental arterial dissection. The results obtained show that the contribution of strain energy is a function of the delamination area (or crack length) and can be neglected when a certain area value is reached. In addition, the contribution of strain energy to total energy required for dissection becomes relatively more important as fracture energy, Gc, decreases.

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