Mechanical characterization of human cartilage anlagen is required in order to effectively model congenital musculoskeletal deformities. Such modeling can effectively explore the effect of treatment procedures and potentially suggest enhanced treatment methods. We therefore determined the stress relaxation behavior of cartilage plugs obtained from third-trimester still-born fetuses in unconfined and confined compression geometries. The material parameters determined were the aggregate modulus HA = 0.15 ± 0.07 MPa, permeability coefficients k0 = 2.01 ± 0.8 × 10−14m4N−1s−1 and M = 4.6 ± 1.0, Young’s modulus Es = 0.06 ± 0.03 MPa, and Poisson’s ratio ν = 0.4 ± 0.06. As compared to adult articular cartilage, stiffness was an order of magnitude lower than the values reported in the literature, inferring the relative softness of the tissue; and the permeability was an order of magnitude higher indicating relative ease of flow in the tissue. Poisson’s ratio also was close to the higher end of the range found in previous studies. Such material is expected to deform and relax to larger extents.

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