Dynamic measurement of the viscoelastic properties of skin

J Biomech. 1991;24(2):157-62. doi: 10.1016/0021-9290(91)90360-y.


A wave propagation technique was used to measure the dynamic viscoelastic properties of excised skin when subjected to a low incremental strain. The propagation velocity, attenuation, and storage and loss moduli were determined from measured characteristics of a pulse propagating along a strip of skin. Experiments were conducted with the skin subjected to static stresses of 1500 Pa and 20,000 Pa. At low static stresses the skin response was viscoelastic with a loss tangent of approximately 0.6. In the frequency range of 0-1000 Hz, the wave velocity was relatively constant while the attenuation increased roughly linearly with frequency. However, results depended on the static stress. At the higher stress level the velocity was greater and the attenuation less than at the lower stress. At low stresses both the storage and loss moduli were relatively constant over the frequency range tested. The strong viscoelastic behavior of the tissue at higher frequencies is not predicted from models of the tissue determined from quasi-static test methods. In selecting a model to describe the behavior of skin, the test methods used for establishing the model must be consistent with its intended application.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Elasticity
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Rabbits
  • Reference Values
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena*
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Viscosity