Thermal and biomechanical parameters of porcine cornea

Jürgen Kampmeier, Benno Radt, Reginald Birngruber, Ralf Brinkmann*

*Corresponding author for this work
179 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose. New methods in refractive surgery require a considerable understanding of the material 'cornea' and are often studied by theoretical modeling in order to gain insight into the procedure and an optimized approach to the technique. The quality of these models is highly dependent on the preciseness of its input parameters. Porcine cornea often is used as a model in preclinical studies because of its similarity to man and its availability. Methods. The important physical parameters for biomechanical deformation, heat conduction, and collagen denaturation kinetics have been determined for porcine cornea. Experimental methods include densitometry, calorimetry, turbidimetry, tensile tests, stress relaxation, and hydrothermal isometric tension measurements. Results. The density of porcine cornea was measured as ρ = 1062 ± 5 kg/m3, the heat capacity gave c = 3.74 ± 0.05 J/gK. The stress-strain relation for corneal strips is represented by a third order approximation where the secant modulus yields about E(sec) ≃ 0.4 MPa for small strains less than 2%. The normalized stress relaxation is described by an exponential fit over time. The denaturation process of cornea is characterized by specific temperatures which can be related to the change of the mechanical properties. Denaturation kinetics are described according to the model of Arrhenius yielding the activation energy ΔE(a) = 106 kJ/mol and the phase transition entropy ΔS = 39 J/(mol · K). Conclusions. The established set of parameters characterizes the porcine cornea in a reliable way that creates a basis for corneal models. It furthermore gives direct hints of how to treat cornea in certain refractive techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)355-363
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 05.2000

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Biomedical Engineering


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