Postprint version. Published in Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology, Volume 5, Issue 2-3, June 1, 2006, pages 90-101. © 2006 Springer. The definitive version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10237-006-0027-0.
Cartilaginous tissues, such as articular cartilage and the annulus fibrosus, exhibit orthotropic behavior with highly asymmetric tensile–compressive responses. Due to this complex behavior, it is difficult to develop accurate stress constitutive equations that are valid for finite deformations. Therefore, we have developed a bimodular theory for finite deformations of elastic materials that allows the mechanical properties of the tissue to differ in tension and compression. In this paper, we derive an orthotropic stress constitutive equation that is second-order in terms of the Biot strain tensor as an alternative to traditional exponential type equations. Several reduced forms of the bimodular second-order equation, with six to nine parameters, and a bimodular exponential equation, with seven parameters, were fit to an experimental dataset that captures the highly asymmetric and orthotropic mechanical response of cartilage. The results suggest that the bimodular second-order models may be appealing for some applications with cartilaginous tissues.