Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor's Name

Richard T. Schoephoerster

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Arvind Agarwal

Third Advisor's Name

James E. Moore

Date of Defense



Synthetic tri-leaflet heart valves generally fail in the long-term use (more than 10 years). Tearing and calcification of the leaflets usually cause failure of these valves as a consequence of high tensile and bending stresses borne on the material. The primary purpose of this study was to explore the possibilities of a new polymer composite to be used as synthetic tri-leaflet heart valve material. This composite was comprised of polystyrene-polyisobutylene-polystyrene (Quatromer), a proprietary polymer, embedded with continuous polypropylene (PP) fibers. Quatromer had been found to be less likely to degrade in vivo than polyurethane. Moreover, it was postulated that a decrease in tears and perforations might result from fiber-reinforced leaflets reducing high stresses on the leaflets. The static and dynamic mechanical properties of the Quatromer/PP composite were compared with those of an implant-approved polyurethane (PU) for cardiovascular applications. Results show that the reinforcement of Quatromer with PP fibers improves both its static and dynamic properties as compared to the PU. Hence, this composite has the potential to be a more suitable material for synthetic tri-leaflet heart valves.




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