Viscoelastic shear properties of human vocal fold mucosa: measurement methodology and empirical results

J Acoust Soc Am. 1999 Oct;106(4 Pt 1):2008-21. doi: 10.1121/1.427947.


A standard method for the empirical rheological characterization of viscoelastic materials was adopted to measure the viscoelastic shear properties of human vocal-fold mucosal tissues (the superficial layer of lamina propria). A parallel-plate rotational rheometer was employed to measure shear deformation of viscoelastic tissue samples, which were deformed between two rigid circular plates rotating in small-amplitude sinusoidal oscillations. Elastic and viscous shear moduli of the samples were then quantified as a function of oscillation frequency (0.01 to 15 Hz) based on shear stresses and strains recorded by the rheometer. Data were obtained from 15 excised human larynges (10 male and 5 female). Results showed that the elastic shear modulus mu and the damping ratio zeta of human vocal-fold mucosa were relatively constant across the range of frequencies observed, while the dynamic viscosity eta decreased monotonically with frequency (i.e., shear thinning). Intersubject differences in mu and eta as large as an order of magnitude were observed, part of which may reflect age-related and gender-related differences. Some molecular interpretations of the findings are discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology
  • Elasticity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laryngeal Mucosa / physiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Biological
  • Rheology
  • Sex Factors
  • Viscosity
  • Vocal Cords / physiology*