Visual Characterization of Aponeurosis Microstructure
Author:Olivia Dyer ’22
Faculty Mentor(s):Professor Benjamin Wheatley, Mechanical Engineering
Funding Source:The John P. & Mary Jane Swanson Professorship in Engineering & the Sciences
Aponeurosis is a tendinous sheath-like tissue found in many muscle-tendon units, and the muscle-aponeurosis junction is poorly understood. We want to determine the structure of the transition from muscle to aponeurosis and how it may be similar or different from the myotendinous junction. Imaging and visually characterizing the muscle-aponeurosis junction using SEM imaging of tissue samples will show how the tendon and muscle fibers interact with one another in the transition zone. It has been observed that there is a non-uniform strain placed on the aponeurosis, and so imaging of the tissue will reveal how force affects the alignment of the collagen fibers found in aponeurosis tissue. Examining how the waviness of collagen fibers changes as the tissue is placed under force will allow for better understanding of the material and structural properties of aponeurosis tissue. Evaluating these characteristics will help us better understand how damages to the tissues occur, how those damages can be repaired and rehabilitated, and how to properly develop computer models of the musculoskeletal system. Sample images using the SEM have been taken to develop a general understanding of aponeurosis morphology.