This paper deals with the effects of dehydration on the mechanical properties of biological soft tissues and with the validity of methods used in previous works such as a coat of petroleum jelly or silicon oil to minimise the drying of the tissue during mechanical testing. We find that the samples get stiffer as they dry but that this phenomenon is wholly reversible upon re-hydrating the samples. A bath of saline solution is the best hydration method but a coat of low-viscosity silicon oil around the free edge of the sample also proves to be a good anti-drying method. However, using petroleum jelly to prevent tissue dehydration should be banned because the jelly largely contributes to the measured mechanical moduli. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
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