Costal cartilage is one of the load bearing tissues of the rib cage. Literature on the material characterization of the costal cartilage is limited. Atomic force microscopy has been extremely successful in characterizing the elastic properties of articular cartilage, but no studies have been published on costal cartilage. In this study AFM indentations on human costal cartilage were performed and compared with macro scale indentation data. Spherical beaded tips of three sizes were used for the AFM indentations. The Hertz contact model for spherical indenter was used to analyze the data and obtain the Young’s modulus. The costal cartilage was found to be almost linearly elastic till 600 nm of indentation depth. It was also found that the modulus values decreased with the distance from the junction. The modulus values from macro indentations were found to be 2-fold larger than the AFM indentation modulus.

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