On the Natural Lubrication of Synovial Joints: Normal and Degenerate

[+] Author and Article Information
Joseph M. Mansour, Van C. Mow

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Aeronautical Engineering and Mechanics, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N. Y.

J. of Lubrication Tech 99(2), 163-172 (Apr 01, 1977) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3453003 History: Received August 01, 1975; Revised December 19, 1975; Online October 20, 2010


Fluid flow and mass transport mechanisms associated with articular cartilage function are important biomechanical processes of normal and pathological synovial joints. A three-layer permeable, two-phase medium of an incompressible fluid and a linear elastic solid are used to model the flow and deformational behavior of articular cartilage. The frictional resistance of the relative motion of the fluid phase with respect to the solid phase is given by a linear diffusive dissipation term. The subchondral bony substrate is represented by an elastic solid. The three-layer model of articular cartilage is chosen because of the known histological, ultrastructural, and biomechanical variations of the tissue properties. The calculated flow field shows that for material properties of normal healthy articular cartilage the tissue creates a naturally lubricated surface. The movement of the interstitial fluid at the surface is circulatory in manner, being exuded in front and near the leading half of the moving surface load and imbibed behind and near the trailing half of the moving load. The flow fields of healthy tissues are capable of sustaining a film of fluid at the articular surface whereas pathological tissues cannot.

Copyright © 1977 by ASME
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