The aim of this experiment was to compare the elasticity of arteries and vein tissue and to identify how the structure of blood vessels relates to their functions.

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AS Biology – Tim Durden

Investigating Arteries and Veins


The aim of this experiment was to compare the elasticity of arteries and vein tissue and to identify how the structure of blood vessels relates to their functions.


There is an abundance of vessels in the circulatory system, of which there are two main vessels, the artery and the vein. Both of these contain a measurable amount of elastic fibres allowing them to expand and contract to adapt to and regulate blood flow changes. Arteries take oxygenated blood around the body whilst veins take deoxygenated blood from around the body back to the heart. When blood is pumped into the aorta (from the left ventricle of the heart) there is high pressure in the blood vessel. This high pressure environment is similar for all the arteries in the body (aside from a few) and it is why arteries have thicker, more muscular, walls. This muscular wall is what keeps a forward flow of blood in the artery when the heart relaxes.

This experiment was undertaken to examine and understand the structure and functions of arteries and veins.

This was done by investigating the elastic recoil of the blood vessel tissues. From this, it was possible to reverse the method, and by referring to experiment results, make a conclusion regarding the elastic recoil of the tissue, as well as observations regarding whether or not this affects pressure within the vessels.

Based on the above scientific knowledge it was believed that the arteries may well have more elastic fibres than the veins, as arteries have a high pressure, which needs to be kept constant for blood to reach the extremes of the body. Veins will therefore have less elastic fibres due to their lower pressure environment.

This leads to the establishment of a hypothesis that arteries have more elastic fibres than veins. Also due to the artery having a smaller lumen (relative to its diameter) it is expected that the artery will return to its original length (or at least very close) after an applied force has been removed. The vein however, will not return to its original length as well as the artery, and will be permanently stretched.

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The experiment needed to be able to produce results on equal grounds for the arteries and veins, showing how the elastic recoil could be shown after a significant force had been applied, and removed, from the vessels. The method below shows how the experiment was carried out.


A retort stand and clamp were taken. The clamp was positioned at approximately 60cm from the base of the stand. A hook was then attached to the clamp. The ring of artery or vein, cut to approximately 2-3mm in thickness, was then placed at the end of the hook. To ...

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This is a well written report that includes a good level of detail. 1. The introduction is well researched but should include references. 2. The method is detailed but should be structured into numbered steps. 3. The fair testing section covers control variables but not the independent and dependent. 4. The results are well presented. 5. The conclusion and analysis are concise and detailed. 6. The report is missing an evaluation. **** (4 stars)