Cartilage material properties provide important insights into joint health, and cartilage material models are used in whole-joint finite element models. Although the biphasic model representing experimental creep indentation tests is commonly used to characterize cartilage, cartilage short-term response to loading is generally not characterized using the biphasic model. The purpose of this study was to determine the short-term and equilibrium material properties of human patella cartilage using a viscoelastic model representation of creep indentation tests. We performed 24 experimental creep indentation tests from 14 human patellar specimens ranging in age from 20 to 90 years (median age 61 years). We used a finite element model to reproduce the experimental tests and determined cartilage material properties from viscoelastic and biphasic representations of cartilage. The viscoelastic model consistently provided excellent representation of the short-term and equilibrium creep displacements. We determined initial elastic modulus, equilibrium elastic modulus, and equilibrium Poisson’s ratio using the viscoelastic model. The viscoelastic model can represent the short-term and equilibrium response of cartilage and may easily be implemented in whole-joint finite element models.
Kathryn E. Keenan (Corresponding Author) is with the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California. Saikat Pal is with the Department of Bioengineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California. Derek P. Lindsey is with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Rehabilitation R&D Center, Palo Alto, California. Thor F. Besier is with the Auckland Bioengineering Institute, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand. Gary S. Beaupre is with the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California, and with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Rehabilitation R&D Center, Palo Alto, California.