Viscoelastic properties of gerbil tympanic membrane at very low frequencies
Faculty of Sciences. Physics
New York, N.Y.
Journal of biomechanics. - New York, N.Y.
, p. 919-924
University of Antwerp
The tympanic membrane transfers sound waves in the ear canal to mechanical vibrations in the middle ear and cochlea. Good estimates of the mechanical properties of the tympanic membrane are important to obtain realistic models. Up till now, only limited resources about tympanic membrane viscoelastic properties are available in the literature. This study aimed to quantify the viscoelastic properties of gerbil tympanic membrane. Step indentations were applied with a custom indenter on four fresh, intact tympanic membranes and the resulting force relaxation was measured. The reduced relaxation functions were then fitted with two viscoelastic model representations: a 5-parameter Maxwell model and a model with a continuous relaxation spectrum. The average relaxation function is described by an initial rapid decrease of 6.5% with characteristic time 0.77 s, followed by a long term decrease with characteristic time 46 s that gradually tends stable till a total relaxation of 15%. The relaxation curves in the time domain were transformed to complex moduli in the frequency domain. It was found that these transformations yield information on strain-rate dependence only from quasi-static to the very lowest acoustic frequencies. Finally, relaxation and hysteresis were simulated in a finite element model with viscoelastic material properties.