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Viscoelastic behavior of erythrocyte membrane.

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Abstract

A nonlinear viscoelastic relation is developed to describe the viscoelastic properties of erythrocyte membrane. This constitutive equation is used in the analysis of the time-dependent aspiration of an erythrocyte membrane into a micropipette. Equations governing this motion are reduced to a nonlinear integral equation of the Volterra type. A numerical procedure based on a finite difference scheme is used to solve the integral equation and to match the experimental data. The data, aspiration length vs. time, is used to determine the relaxation function at each time step. The inverse problem of obtaining the time dependence of the aspiration length from a given relaxation function is also solved. Analytical results obtained are applied to the experimental data of Chien et al. 1978. Biophys. J. 24:463-487. A relaxation function similar to that of a four-parameter solid with a shear-thinning viscous term is proposed.

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