Background: The mechanical interaction between blood vessels and medical devices can induce strains in these vessels. Measuring and understanding these strains is necessary to identify the causes of vascular complications. This study develops a method to measure the three-dimensional (3D) distribution of strain using tomographic particle image velocimetry (Tomo-PIV) and compares the measurement accuracy with the gauge strain in tensile tests. Methods and findings: The test system for measuring 3D strain distribution consists of two cameras, a laser, a universal testing machine, an acrylic chamber with a glycerol water solution for adjusting the refractive index with the silicone, and dumbbell-shaped specimens mixed with fluorescent tracer particles. 3D images of the particles were reconstructed from 2D images using a multiplicative algebraic reconstruction technique (MART) and motion tracking enhancement. Distributions of the 3D displacements were calculated using a digital volume correlation. To evaluate the accuracy of the measurement method in terms of particle density and interrogation voxel size, the gauge strain and one of the two cameras for Tomo-PIV were used as a video-extensometer in the tensile test. The results show that the optimal particle density and interrogation voxel size are 0.014 particles per pixel and 40 × 40 × 40 voxels with a 75% overlap. The maximum measurement error was maintained at less than 2.5% in the 4-mm-wide region of the specimen. Conclusions: We successfully developed a method to experimentally measure 3D strain distribution in an elastic silicone material using Tomo-PIV and fluorescent particles. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report that applies Tomo-PIV to investigate 3D strain measurements in elastic materials with large deformation and validates the measurement accuracy.
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