Identification of viscoelastic properties of Dacron aortic grafts subjected to physiological pulsatile flow

Marco Amabili, Prabakaran Balasubramanian, Giovanni Ferrari, Giulio Franchini, Francesco Giovanniello, Eleonora Tubaldi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


In vascular surgery, most synthetic vascular grafts currently used for large vessels replacements are made of Dacron (polyethylene terephthalate; PET). In this study, the dynamic response of these synthetic arterial substitutes to physiological pulsatile conditions is investigated in depth. Experiments were performed on a mock circulatory loop developed to replicate physiological pulsatile pressure and flow. Two different models of Dacron grafts (branched and straight) were tested at various heart rate conditions. Results are presented in terms of cyclic axisymmetric diameter changes, hysteretic loops of the pressure-diameter change, and viscoelastic parameters, such as loss factor and storage modulus that are identified from the hysteresis loop. The amplitude of cyclic diameter change of the Dacron graft was found to be always below 0.2% for all the heart rates considered (from 57 to 187 bpm). The loss factor of the Dacron graft slightly increased with the heart rate; almost no effect of the pulse rate was observed on the storage modulus, which was identified to be around 100 MPa. Both glycerol-water mixture (i.e. the blood analogue fluid) and saline solution were used in the circulatory loop and results did not present significant differences between the two cases. This shows that the effect of the shear load on the dynamic response of Dacron grafts is negligible. A comparison between Dacron vascular implants and human thoracic aortas shows a large mismatch in their viscoelastic mechanical properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103804
JournalJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Aortic graft
  • Dacron graft
  • Dynamics
  • Loss factor
  • Mock circulatory loop

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials


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