New methods for the assessment of in vitro and in vivo stress cracking in biomedical polyurethanes

Darren J. Martin, Laura A. Poole Warren, Pathiraja A. Gunatillake, Simon J. McCarthy, Gordon F. Meijs, Klaus Schindhelm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


This article describes a new test method for the assessment of the severity of environmental stress cracking of biomedical polyurethanes in a manner that minimizes the degree of subjectivity involved. The effect of applied strain and acetone pre-treatment on degradation of Pellethane 2363 80A and Pellethane 2363 55D polyurethanes under in vitro and in vivo conditions is studied. The results are presented using a magnification-weighted image rating system that allows the semi-quantitative rating of degradation based on distribution and severity of surface damage. Devices for applying controlled strain to both flat sheet and tubing samples are described. The new rating system consistently discriminated between the effects of acetone pre-treatments, strain and exposure times in both in vitro and in vivo experiments. As expected, P80A underwent considerable stress cracking compared with P55D. P80A produced similar stress crack ratings in both in vivo and in vitro experiments, however P55D performed worse under in vitro conditions compared with in vivo. This result indicated that care must be taken when interpreting in vitro results in the absence of in vivo data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)973-978
Number of pages6
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Biostability
  • ESC
  • Pellethane
  • Polyurethane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials


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