Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chairperson

Michael V. Rosario, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jessica Sullivan-Brown, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Eric Sweet, Ph.D.


The field of biological science has established that tendons transfer muscular forces to adjacent bones, but there is a dearth of information about the underlying physical principles of these interactions and how the property of viscoelasticity (displayed in tendons as a difference in mechanical response to stress with differing stretching rates) is encompassed in the collagen of tendons. This thesis details the results of concentric and eccentric contractions of the rat muscle-tendon unit (MTU) with and without viscoelasticity (concentric contraction requires active shortening of the muscle, while eccentric contraction requires active lengthening of the muscle) (Lovering & Brooks, 2014). Once the relationship between the tendon and viscoelasticity (within the context of the MTU) was established at the organ level, we tested for the presence of viscoelastic tendencies in one single collagen molecule to determine the most basic viscoelastic unit in the tendon. Based on our modeling approaches, the direction of tendon displacement does not differ between concentric and eccentric contractions, the rate of tendon displacement differs between concentric and eccentric contractions, and viscoelasticity is present in a single collagen molecule.