Empirical measurements of biomechanical anisotropy of the human vocal fold lamina propria

Jordan E. Kelleher, Thomas Siegmund, Mindy Du, Elhum Naseri, Roger W. Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The vocal folds are known to be mechanically anisotropic due to the microstructural arrangement of fibrous proteins such as collagen and elastin in the lamina propria. Even though this has been known for many years, the biomechanical anisotropic properties have rarely been experimentally studied. We propose that an indentation procedure can be used with uniaxial tension in order to obtain an estimate of the biomechanical anisotropy within a single specimen. Experiments were performed on the lamina propria of three male and three female human vocal folds dissected from excised larynges. Two experiments were conducted: each specimen was subjected to cyclic uniaxial tensile loading in the longitudinal (i.e., anterior-posterior) direction, and then to cyclic indentation loading in the transverse (i.e., medial-lateral) direction. The indentation experiment was modeled as contact on a transversely isotropic half-space using the Barnett-Lothe tensors. The longitudinal elastic modulus E L was computed from the tensile test, and the transverse elastic modulus E T and longitudinal shear modulus G L were obtained by inverse analysis of the indentation force-displacement response. It was discovered that the average of E L /E T was 14 for the vocal ligament and 39 for the vocal fold cover specimens. Also, the average of E L /G L, a parameter important for models of phonation, was 28 for the vocal ligament and 54 for the vocal fold cover specimens. These measurements of anisotropy could contribute to more accurate models of fundamental frequency regulation and provide potentially better insights into the mechanics of vocal fold vibration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)555-567
Number of pages13
JournalBiomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • Anisotropy
  • Biomechanics
  • Indentation
  • Larynx
  • Tensile deformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Mechanical Engineering


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