Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Jiong Tang, Donald Peterson

Field of Study

Mechanical Engineering


Master of Science

Open Access

Open Access


Objective: Articular cartilage is a non-homogeneous tissue with complex structure-function relationships. Damage to articular cartilage leads to traditionally irreparable conditions such as osteoarthritis, a disease that is both painful and debilitating to a large human population. The objective in this thesis is to perform triaxial mechanical tests on articular cartilage that are quasi-static and large-shear strains, in order to understand tissue mechanical behavior. Methods: Cartilage explants were taken from three healthy adult bovine femurs. Specimens were categorized by joint contact and contact stress regions with respect to the femoral condyle. Specimens were subject to applied shear parallel and perpendicular to the split line direction at 5 %, 10 %, 15 % and 20 % while submerged in phosphate buffered saline at 37 ◦C. Force and displacement were measured, and the shear stress and dissipation energy were calculated. Results: Joint contact region, governed by degrees of flexion, and thickness have significant effects on articular cartilage stiffness and the dissipation energy. There were no significant differences in results obtained from shearing parallel to the split line direction versus perpendicular, nor between high and low stress load-bearing regions. At 5% applied shear strain, G = 412 kPa, which is comparable to reported values for bovine by other groups.

Major Advisor

David M. Peterson