Most biological materials are anisotropic and inhomogeneous. Experimental studies of cartilage, meniscus, bone, ligament and tendon all point to orthotropic and nonlinear material response to applied load. In studying joint articulation these nonlinearities, along with complex, curved geometries and the nonlinearity implicit in contact, must be modeled, making analytic investigations of joint contact biomechanics intractable. Since articular contact plays the primary role in load transfer in joints, we will explore the effect of tissue anisotropy using a canonical joint contact problem. A biphasic contact finite element model (1, 2) will be employed for this investigation so the important fluid flow and stress-shielding effects (3, 4) can be understood.

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