The role of flow-independent viscoelasticity in the biphasic tensile and compressive responses of articular cartilage

C. Y. Huang, V. C. Mow, G. A. Ateshian

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162 Scopus citations


A long-standing challenge in the biomechanics of connective tissues (e.g., articular cartilage, ligament, tendon) has been the reported disparities between their tensile and compressive properties. In general, the intrinsic tensile properties of the solid matrices of these tissues are dictated by the collagen content and microstructural architecture, and the intrinsic compressive properties are dictated by their proteoglycan content and molecular organization as well as water content. These distinct materials give rise to a pronounced and experimentally well-documented nonlinear tension-compression stress-strain responses, as well as biphasic or intrinsic extracellular matrix viscoelastic responses. While many constitutive models of articular cartilage have captured one or more of these experimental responses, no single constitutive law has successfully described the uniaxial tensile and compressive responses of cartilage within the same framework. The objective of this study was to combine two previously proposed extensions of the biphasic theory of Mow et al. [1980, ASME J. Biomech. Eng., 102, pp. 73-84] to incorporate tension-compression nonlinearity as well as intrinsic viscoelasticity of the solid matrix of cartilage. The biphasic-conewise linear elastic model proposed by Soltz and Ateshian [2000, ASME J. Biomech. Eng., 122, pp. 576-586] and based on the bimodular stress-strain constitutive law introduced by Curnier et al. [1995, J. Elasticity, 37, pp. 1-38], as well as the biphasic poroviscoelastic model of Mak [1986, ASME J. Biomech. Eng., 108, pp. 123-130], which employs the quasi-linear viscoelastic model of Fung [1981, Biomechanics: Mechanical Properties of Living Tissues, Springer-Verlag, New York], were combined in a single model to analyze the response of cartilage to standard testing configurations. Results were compared to experimental data from the literature and it was found that a simultaneous prediction of compression and tension experiments of articular cartilage, under stress-relaxation and dynamic loading, can be achieved when properly taking into account both flow-dependent and flow-independent viscoelasticity effects, as well as tension-compression nonlinearity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)410-417
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of biomechanical engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Physiology (medical)


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