Articular cartilage lubricates the contact surfaces in human joints and provides a shock-absorbing effect which protects the joint under dynamic loading. However, this shock-absorbing effect is gradually reduced as the result of normal wear, tear and aging-related cartilage loss. Thus, with the increasing average human life expectancy, the issue of joint health has attracted significant interest in recent decades. In developing new materials for the repair or regeneration of damaged articular cartilage, it is essential that the difference in the mechanical properties of healthy and damaged cartilages is well-understood. In the present study, the hardness and Young's modulus of damaged and healthy porcine articular cartilage samples are evaluated via a quasi-static nanoindentation technique. A dynamic mechanical analysis method is then applied to determine the viscoelastic properties of the two samples. The results presented in this study provide a useful insight into the mechanical properties of articular cartilage at the mesoscale, and therefore fill an important gap in the literature.
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