Objective: To investigate the dependence of force decay on the initial strain applied to currently available elastic chains.
Materials and methods: Eight different elastic chains from eight major companies were tested for force decay over a period of 3 weeks at 50% and 100% strain. They were stored in water and thermocycled between 5°C and 55°C. An Instron 3344 was used for the force measurements.
Results: Absolute force values at 50% strain varied between 2.3 N and 4.1 N initially, and between 0.9 N and 1.6 N after 21 days. Thus, the force decay of the elastic chains varied from 37% to 75%. At 100% strain, the force values varied between 2.9 N and 4.7 N initially, and between 1.3 N and 2.1 N after 21 days of continuous strain. The force decay varied between 39% and 67%. Most force decays between 24 hours and 21 days were not significant. This information should be taken into consideration when the appropriate elastic chain is selected for clinical use.
Conclusion: A wide array of elastic chains with various force levels is available. However, differences between products of greater than 100% were measured for force decay over time.