A cryogenic clamping technique that facilitates ultimate tensile strength determinations in tendons and ligaments

J. E. Bowser, S. H. Elder, A. M. Rashmir-Raven, C. E. Swiderski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objective: To describe the use of a cryogenic clamp of novel design for tensile strength testing of tendinous and ligamentous tissues with inherently high tensile strength. Methods: Inexpensive, easily machined steel clamps were manufactured to facilitate rapid insertion into a standard wedge-screw grip apparatus installed on a testing system with a control system attached. The deep digital flexor tendon (DDFT) of six horses was trimmed to a uniform dumbbell shape and secured in clamps using partial submersion in liquid nitrogen for approximately 45 seconds and immediately tested. Approximate time between removal from liquid nitrogen and failure of tendon was four minutes. Results: Failure was achieved in all tendons tested in a region approximating a midpoint between the clamps. Ultimate failure loads of up to 6745 N were achieved without slippage of the tissue from the grips. The ultimate tensile strength of the normal equine DDFT determined in this study was 111.82 ±11.53 N/mm 2, and the stress versus grip-to-grip elongation plots for our equine DDFT were representative of a standard non-linear elastic curve obtained in similar studies. Clinical significance: We present a low cost device for quantifying physical properties of specimens with high connective tissue concentrations and inherent high tensile strength. Results of this study indicate that this device provides a practical alternative to other more costly methods of adequately securing larger tendons and ligaments for tensile strength testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)370-373
Number of pages4
JournalVeterinary and Comparative Orthopaedics and Traumatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Cryogenic clamp
  • Deep digital flexor tendon
  • Tensile strength

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • General Veterinary


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