Tissue engineering is a promising, innovative approach to repair or replace injured cartilage in the joints. Bioreactors used in tissue engineering serve to maintain controlled environments that provide many of the conditions necessary for cells to produce functional cartilaginous tissues (Darling et al, 2003, Freed et al, 2000). The use of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) can accelerate the development of optimal bioreactor configurations and provide insight into underlying fluid characteristics within the bioreactor (Williams et al, 2002). This study utilizes Fluent CFD analysis software to optimize the design of a microfluidic bioreactor device. Interstitial pressure and flow-induced shear stress are two factors that have been shown to enhance chondrocyte matrix molecule biosynthesis. Characterization of these and other hydrodynamic properties within the bioreactor provides insight into optimal design configurations as well a predictive mechanism for understanding biophysical phenomena and fluid forces affecting chondrogenesis.

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