Mechanical properties of meniscal circumferential fibers using an inverse finite element analysis approach

Massimiliano De Rosa, Giovanni Filippone, Thomas M. Best, Alicia R. Jackson, Francesco Travascio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The extracellular matrix (ECM) of the meniscus is a gel-like water solution of proteoglycans embedding bundles of collagen fibers mainly oriented circumferentially. Collagen fibers significantly contribute to meniscal mechanics, however little is known about their mechanical properties. The objective of this study was to propose a constitutive model for collagen fibers embedded in the ECM of the meniscus and to characterize the tissue's pertinent mechanical properties. It was hypothesized that a linear fiber reinforced viscoelastic constitutive model is suitable to describe meniscal mechanical behavior in shear. It was further hypothesized that the mechanical properties governing the model depend on the tissue's composition. Frequency sweep tests were conducted on eight porcine meniscal specimens. A first cohort of experimental data resulted from tissue specimens where collagen fibers oriented parallel with respect to the shear plane were used. This was done to eliminate the contribution of collagen fibers from the mechanical response and characterize the mechanical properties of the ECM. A second cohort with fibers orthogonally oriented with respect to the shear plane that were used to determine the elastic properties of the collagen fibers via inverse finite element analysis. Our testing protocol revealed that tissue ECM mechanical behavior could be described by a generalized Maxwell model with 3 relaxation times. The inverse finite element analysis suggested that collagen fibers can be modeled as linear elastic elements having an average elastic modulus of 287.5 ± 62.6 MPa. Magnitudes of the mechanical parameters governing the ECM and fibers were negatively related to tissue water content.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105073
JournalJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Collagen fibers
  • Frequency sweep
  • Inverse finite element analysis
  • Rheological modeling
  • Viscoelasticity
  • Water content

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials


Dive into the research topics of 'Mechanical properties of meniscal circumferential fibers using an inverse finite element analysis approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this