A finite element model of an idealized diarthrodial joint to investigate the effects of variation in the mechanical properties of the tissues

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Abstract

The stiffness of articular cartilage increases dramatically with increasing rate of loading, and it has been hypothesized that increasing the stiffness of the subchondral bone may result in damaging stresses being generated in the articular cartilage. Despite the interdependence of these tissues in a Joint, little is understood of the effect of such changes in one tissue on stresses generated in another. To investigate this, a parametric finite element model of an idealized joint was developed. The model incorporated layers representing articular cartilage, calcified cartilage, the subchondral bone plate and cancellous bone. Taguchi factorial design techniques, employing a two-level full-factorial and a four-level fractional factorial design, were used to vary the material properties and thicknesses of the layers over the wide range of values found in the literature. The effects on the maximum values of von Mises stress in each of the tissues are reported here. The stiffness of the cartilage was the main factor that determined the stress in the articular cartilage. This, and the thickness of the cartilage, also had the largest effect on the stresses in all the other tissues with the exception of the subchondral bone plate, in which stresses were dominated by its own stiffness. The stiffness of the underlying subchondral bone had no effect on the stresses generated in the cartilage. This study shows how stresses in the various tissues are affected by changes in their mechanical properties and thicknesses. It also demonstrates the benefits of a structured, systematic approach to investigating parameter variation in finite element models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-348
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Part H, Journal of Engineering in Medicine
Volume217
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Keywords

  • articular cartilage
  • impact
  • modelling
  • biomechanics
  • diarthrodial joint
  • finite element method
  • BIPHASIC CARTILAGE LAYERS
  • ARTICULAR-CARTILAGE
  • SUBCHONDRAL BONE
  • CALCIFIED CARTILAGE
  • ASYMPTOTIC SOLUTION
  • IMPACT LOAD
  • CONTACT
  • OSTEOARTHRITIS
  • MODULUS
  • DAMAGE

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