On the conditional equivalence of chemical loading and mechanical loading on articular cartilage

W. M. Lai, W. Y. Gu, V. C. Mow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Osmotic pressure loading of articular cartilage has been customarily invoked to be equivalent to mechanical loading. In the literature, this equivalence is defined by the amount of water squeezed from the tissue, i.e. if the amount of water content lost by these two modes of loading are the same, it has been generally regarded that the two loadings are equivalent. This assumption has never been proven. Using the water content lost concept, in this paper, we derived the exact conditions under which an osmotic pressure loading of cartilage can be considered to be equivalent to a mechanical loading. However, the mechanical loading condition satisfying this equivalancy criterion, i.e. an isotropic loading delivered via a porous- permeable rigid platen uniformily applied all around the specimen, is not practically achievable. Moreover, even if this were achieved experimentally, the interstitial fluid pressure caused by the two loading conditions are not the same. This result has important ramifications for interpretation of experimental data from mechanical stimulations of cartilage explant studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1181-1185
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


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