Bioresorbable Vascular Scaffolds (BVS) manufactured from poly (l-lactic acid) (PLLA) offer an alternative to metal scaffolds for the treatment of coronary heart disease. One of the key steps in the manufacture of these scaffolds is the stretch blow moulding process where the PLLA is biaxially stretched above glass transition temperature (Tg), inducing biaxial orientation and thus increasing ductility, strength and stiffness. To optimise the manufacture and performance of these scaffolds it is important to understand the influence of temperature and strain rate on the constitutive behaviour of PLLA in the blow moulding process. Experiments have been performed on samples of PLLA on a custom built biaxial stretch testing machine to replicate conditions typically experienced during blow moulding i.e. in a temperature range from 70 °C to 100 °C and at strain rates of 1 s−1, 4 s−1 and 16 s−1 respectively. The data is subsequently used to calibrate a nonlinear viscoelastic material model to represent the deformation behaviour of PLLA in the blow moulding process. The results highlight the significance of temperature and strain rate on the yielding and strain hardening behaviour of PLLA and the ability of the selected model to capture it.
- Mechanical behaviour Constitutive model PLLA Glass transition Stretch blow moulding