This study adopts the digital image correlation (DIC) method to measure the mechanical properties under tension in agarose gels. A second polynomial stress- strain equation based on a pore model is proposed in this work. It shows excellent agreement with experimental data and was verified by finite element simulation. Evaluation of the planer strain field by DIC allows measurement of strain localization and Poisson's ratio. At high stresses, Poisson's ratio is found to exceed the standard assumption of 0.5 which is shown to be a result of pore water leakage. Local failure strains are found to be approximately twice those determined by crosshead displacements. Viscous properties of agarose gels are investigated by performing the tensile tests at various loading rates. Increases in loading rate do not cause much difference in the shape of stress-strain curves, but result in increases in ultimate stress and strain. POLYM. ENG. SCI., 50:1585-1593, 2010. © 2010 Society of Plastics Engineers.
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