Finite element biphasic indentation of cartilage: a comparison of experimental indenter and physiological contact geometries

M D Warner, W R Taylor, S E Clift

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34 Citations (SciVal)


In experimental cartilage indentation studies, the indenter is typically a plane-ended or hemispherically ended cylinder and can be either porous or non-porous. Joints such as the hip and knee, however, have much higher radii of curvature than those used in experimental indentation testing. In order to interpret the results from such testing in a physiological context it is therefore useful to explore the effect of contact geometry on the pore pressure and strain distribution generated in the cartilage layer. Articular cartilage can be described as a saturated porous medium, and can be considered a biphasic material consisting of a porous, permeable solid matrix, and an interstitial fluid phase. This behaviour has been predicted in this study using the ABAQUS soils consolidation procedure. Four contact geometries were modelled: two typical experimental configurations (5 mm radii cylindrical indenter and hemispherical indenters) and two effective radii representative of the hip and knee (20 and 100 mm). A 10 per cent deformation, or a load of 0.9 kN, was applied over a ramp time of 2 s, which was then maintained for a further 100 s. The porous indenter generated less pore pressure compared with the equivalent non-porous indenter and produced higher values of compressive strain in the solid matrix. The predictions made using the cylindrical indenters, porous and non-porous, were dominated by the concentrations at the edge of the indenter and overestimated the peak compressive strain in the tissue by a factor of 21 and a factor of 14 respectively when compared with the hip model. The hemispherical indenter predicted peak strains in similar positions to those predicted using physiological radii, however, the magnitude was overestimated by a factor of 2.3 when compared with the knee and by 5.7 when compared with the hip. The pore pressure throughout the cartilage layer reduced significantly as the radius of the indenter was increased
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)487-496
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part H - Journal of Engineering in Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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