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J Biomech. 1987;20(7):703-14.

Biphasic indentation of articular cartilage--I. Theoretical analysis.

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  • 1Department of Bioengineering and Orthopaedic Surgery Research, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104.


A mathematical solution has been obtained for the indentation creep and stress-relaxation behavior of articular cartilage where the tissue is modeled as a layer of linear KLM biphasic material of thickness h bonded to an impervious, rigid bony substrate. The circular (radius = a), plane-ended indenter is assumed to be rigid, porous, free-draining, and frictionless. Double Laplace and Hankel transform techniques were used to solve the partial differential equations. The transformed equations and boundary conditions yielded an integral equation of the Fredholm type which was analyzed asymptotically and solved numerically. Our asymptotic analyses showed that the linear KLM biphasic material behaves like an incompressible (v = 0.5) single-phase elastic solid at t = 0+; the instantaneous response of the material is governed by the shear modulus (mu s) of the solid matrix. The linear KLM biphasic material behaves like a compressible elastic solid with material properties defined by those of the solid matrix, i.e. (lambda s, mu s) or (mu s, v s) as t----infinity. The transient viscoelastic creep and stress-relaxation behavior, 0 less than t less than infinity, of this material is controlled by the frictional drag (which is inversely proportional to the permeability k) associated with the flow of the interstitial fluid through the porous-permeable solid matrix. For given values of the Poisson's ratio of the solid matrix v s and the aspect ratio a/h, where a is the radius of the indenter and h is the thickness of the layer, the creep behavior with respect to the dimensionless time H Akt/a2 is completely controlled by the load parameter P/2 mu sa2 and the stress relaxation behavior is completely controlled by the rate of compression parameter R0 = kH A/V0h where H A = lambda s + 2 mu s and the equilibrium strain u0/h. This mathematical solution may now be used to describe an indentation experiment on articular cartilage to determine the intrinsic material properties of the tissue, i.e. permeability k, and the elastic coefficients of the solid phase (lambda s, mu s) or (mu s, v s).

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