For most tissue engineering applications that seek to generate tissue de novo, the scaffold is the first step in a series of important developmental considerations. Whether synthetic or natural, scaffolds developed for immediate in vivo use must have mechanical properties comparable to the native tissue for at least the minimum time necessary for the accompanying seeded cells, and eventual cells that migrate in, to lay down an equivalent supporting matrix. Scaffolds developed for the purpose of growing a tissue in vitro, with eventual in vivo use, need not necessarily meet these mechanical requirements. However, to better develop new tissues in bioreactors or in vivo, it is pertinent to understand how the fiber network changes under some regimen of mechanical load, in essence to understand what the cell witnesses within the scaffold. Extending our previous work, which focused on measuring and modeling the mechanical response of electrospun poly ester urethane urea (es-PEUU) scaffolds [1], we investigated the intricate and detailed es-PEUU fiber networks that are created during scaffold synthesis and how these networks change under various levels of strain. Specifically, we focused on several scaffold responses to strain:

1) Characteristics of fiber tortuosity, which when increased can yield delayed onset of scaffold stiffness as well as other varying mechanical responses.

2) Fiber splay, which determines the orientation of the all fibers within the scaffold.

3) Local vs global strain analysis to determine whether the scaffolds follow affine or non-affine deformations.

4) Fiber strain, to investigate how increasing levels of scaffold strain are transmitted to local fibers.

5) Changes in fiber tortuosity and overall fiber directions under strain.

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