A new model of the fluid-filled articular cartilage in human joints is introduced. It is a composite which can imbibe and exudate across the surface and offers resistance in tension and compression, while preserving the essential nonlinearity. The model makes tractable transient static or moving contact problems whose solutions are paramount in the study of failure criteria associated with arthritic conditions. In two examples, indentation—time characteristics and friction coefficient, based on deformation theory, are found and they agree with measured values. Moreover, a third example illustrates the mutual inclusiveness of the two leading theories: the weeping and boosted lubrication theories.

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