Replication of the tensile behavior of knee ligaments using architected acrylic yarn

Roberto A. Pineda Guzman, Mariana E. Kersh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Knee ligament injury diagnosis is achieved by a comparison between the laxity levels sensed by a clinician in the injured and healthy limb. This is a difficult-to-learn task that requires hands-on practice to achieve proficiency. The inclusion of a physical knee simulator with biomechanically realistic passive components such as knee ligaments could provide consistent training for medical students and lead to improved care for knee injury patients. In this study, we developed a material construct that is both adaptable to a physical knee model and capable of replicating the non-linear mechanical behavior of knee ligaments with the use of helically arranged acrylic yarn. The microstructure of four different types of acrylic yarn were measured and then tested under uniaxial tension. While the fiber twist angle was similar amongst the four yarn types (range = 17.9–18.8°), one yarn was distinct with a low ply twist angle (15.2 ± 1.6°) and high packing fraction (Φ=0.32±0.08). These microstructural differences yielded a lower toe length and higher stiffness and best corresponded to ligament mechanical behavior. We then made looped-yarn constructs to modulate the sample's toe length and stiffness. We found that the load-displacement curve of the construct can be tuned by changing the loop length and loop number of the looped-yarn constructs, matching the load-displacement curve of specific knee ligaments. This study shows how spun yarn can be used to replicate the mechanical behavior of knee ligaments, creating synthetic ligament constructs that could enable the construction of biomechanically realistic joints.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104339
JournalJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Acrylic
  • Helical
  • Knee
  • Ligaments
  • Tensile behavior
  • Yarn

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials


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