In this paper, we present a growth mixture model for cartilage. The main features of this model are illustrated in a simple equilibrium boundary-value problem that is chosen to illustrate how a mechanical theory of cartilage growth may be applied to growth-related experiments on cartilage explants. The cartilage growth mixture model describes the independent growth of the proteoglycan and collagen constituents due to volumetric mass deposition, which leads to the remodeling of the composition and the mechanical properties of the solid matrix. The model developed here also describes how the material constants of the collagen constituent depend on a scalar parameter that may change over time (e.g., crosslink density); this leads to a remodeling of the structural and mechanical properties of the collagen constituent. The equilibrium boundary-value problem that describes the changes observed in cartilage explants harvested at different stages of a growth or a degenerative process is formulated. This boundary-value problem is solved using existing experimental data for developing bovine cartilage explants harvested at three developmental stages. The solution of the boundary-value problem in conjunction with existing experimental data suggest the types of experimental studies that need to be conducted in the future to determine model parameters and to further refine the model.


Biomechanical Engineering

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