Indentation analysis of biphasic viscoelastic hydrogels

K. S. Toohey, S. Kalyanam, J. Palaniappan, M. F. Insana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mechanical properties of soft biological materials are dependent on the responses of the two phases of which they are comprised: the solid matrix and interstitial fluid. Indentation techniques are commonly used to measure properties of such materials, but comparisons between different experimental, and analytical techniques can be difficult. Most models relating load, and time during spherical indentation are based on Hertzian contact theory, but the exact limitation of this theory for soft materials are unclear. Here, we examine the response of gelatin hydrogels to shear and indentation loading to quantify combined effects of the solid, and fluid phases. The instantaneous behavior of the hydrogels is different for each test geometry, and loading rate, but the relaxed response, measured by the relaxed modulus, is the same for all tests, within 17%. Additionally, indentation depths from 15% to 25% of the radius of the spherical indenter are found to minimize error in the estimate of relaxed modulus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-184
Number of pages10
JournalMechanics of Materials
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Gelatin
  • Hertz
  • Hydrogel
  • Indentation
  • Rheometer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Instrumentation
  • General Materials Science


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