Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering

Degree Level



Biomedical Engineering


Jensen, Morten

Committee Member/Reader

Jensen, Hanna

Committee Member/Second Reader

Quinn, Kyle


The rupture of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) is currently the 13th leading cause of death in the United States [1]. AAA is characterized, in part, by an increase in presence of proteolytic enzymes which degrade the structural proteins collagen and elastin [6]. The goal of this study was to examine the effect that elastin degradation has on the biomechanical properties of aortic tissue. For this experiment, porcine aortic tissue was cut in the circumferential and longitudinal directions. These specimens were exposed to an elastase solution for varying time-intervals and then underwent uniaxial tensile testing. Elastase-treated tissue tested in the longitudinal direction appears to exhibit strain-stiffening behavior at lower strain values when compared to the control. Additionally, elastase exposure appears to lower ultimate tensile strength for these same sample groups. Conclusions cannot be made on elastase’s effect on aortic tissue in the circumferential direction as the elastase concentration used was insufficient to degrade the higher number of circumferentially oriented fibers present in arterial tissue.


Abdominal aortic aneurysm, elastin, tissue mechanics