The aim of this project was to design and validate a device to cyclically stretch human cells on tunable stiffness substrates to enable the study of these two mechanical stimuli simultaneously. FEA indicated that squat stretching should yield near pure uniaxial behavior. Polyacrylamide (PA) hydrogel was utilized as the compliant substrate for tissue culture in a temperature controlled, sterile environment. Testing verified that PA gels have sufficient durability in squat configurations and can reach 20% strain at rates up to 10%/sec. This device represents the first method available for mechanobiological studies into the response to combined stretch and stiffness stimuli.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Major Qualifying Project
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