The indentation experiment has been widely used to determine mechanical properties of articular cartilage [e.g., 1–3]. This method does not disrupt the fibrous network of the tissue nor does it require removing the tissue from the underlying bone. The biphasic indentation theory has been successfully used to determine the effect of interstitial fluid flow and pressurization (load support) on the creep and stress-relaxation behaviors of articular cartilage, and to determine its apparent mechanical properties (i.e., the elastic moduli of the extracellular solid matrix and its permeability) [1, 3]. However, due to its proteoglycan content, articular cartilage is a charged tissue with a high fixed charge density (FCD) [4]. Proteoglycan and collagen contents, water, etc, vary with age or with orthteoarthritis [4, 5]. The FCD plays important physicochemical roles in load support and mechano-electrochemial behaviors of the tissue and also regulates chondrocyte biosynthetic activities [4–7]. It is therefore important to develop an effective technique to determine not only the mechanical properties but also the electrochemical property (e.g., FCD) of the tissue, simultaneously and at the same location. The purpose of the current study is to determine, for the first time, both the mechanical properties and FCD of the extracellular matrix using an indentation test.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.