Communications Project

Document Type:Master's Thesis
Name:Michael C. Owellen
Title:Biotribology: The Effect of Lubricant and Load on Articular Cartilage Wear and Friction
Degree:Master of Science
Department:Mechanical Engineering
Committee Chair: M. J. Furey
Committee Members:
Keywords:tribology, articular cartilage, wear, joint lubrication
Date of defense:July 21, 1997
Availability:Release the entire work immediately worldwide.


This paper presents a biotribological study on cartilage wear and friction, using a system of cartilage-on-stainless steel. This study is a part of the ongoing biotribology research by Dr. Furey at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Two loads (65 N and 20 N) and three lubricants (saline reference, reference + hyaluronic acid, and bovine synovial fluid) were tested and evaluated using several analysis techniques. These techniques included wear analysis by hydroxyproline measurement, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), histologic sectioning and staining, numerical analysis of friction and specimen displacement data, and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) analysis.

Biochemical wear analysis showed that, under high load, the saline reference generated the most wear, hyaluronic acid produced less wear, and bovine synovial fluid produced the least. Wear was sensitive to load with all three lubricants, but was not significantly affected by the lubricant under low load.

SEM photographs and histologic sections showed evidence of plowing and surface delamination, as well as another wear mechanism that produced wear markings perpendicular to the direction of sliding.

Opaque films remained on the polished stainless steel disks after saline and hyaluronic acid tests, but not after synovial fluid tests. FTIR analysis of these films, as well as fresh and worn cartilage, showed that the cartilage experienced chemical changes during sliding.

List of Attached Files


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