The manner in which liquid interacts with collagen is unclear, with changes in hydration presenting ambiguity. At present, elastic modulus values for collagen quoted range from MPa to GPa. Dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) of collagen in isolation provides an insight into the mechanical changes due to altered hydration states.
Changes in the viscoelastic properties of collagen were examined as the material was systematically dehydrated in a series of water:solvent mixes to examine effects of dehydration. The effect of solvents with varying polarity was also examined. Tails from 11-week old wild type mice were used. Mouse tail is a tissue with a well-defined, hierarchical organization of type I collagen. The viscoelastic response of collagen was measured using dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) in fiber extension mode over the frequency range of 1Hz to 10Hz. Samples were sequentially dehydrated in a series of solvent concentrations: 70% ethanol to 100% ethanol to 100% acetone and 70% ethanol to 70% methanol to 100% methanol for at least 1h. Selectively removing and then replacing water from collagen samples provides insight into the role of water in the ultrastructure of the tissue from the corresponding changes in the experimentally determined elastic modulus and viscous energy.
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