Human Joint Performance and the Roughness of Articular Cartilage

[+] Author and Article Information
T. R. Thomas

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Teesside Polytechnic, Middlesbrough, U.K.

R. S. Sayles

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Imperial College, London, U.K.

I. Haslock

South Tees Health District, Middlesbrough General Hospital, Middlesbrough, U.K.

J Biomech Eng 102(1), 50-56 (Feb 01, 1980) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3138198 History: Received January 30, 1978; Revised February 14, 1979; Online June 15, 2009


It is known that the surface of articular cartilage is rough and it has been suggested that this is likely to affect the lubrication of human joints. This paper describes the direct measurement of a cartilage surface with a stylus instrument. It is found that the height distribution is Gaussian with an inverse-square power spectrum. It is thus possible to calculate the elastic deflection of the surface under normal walking loads and it is shown that the mean separation of the cartilage surfaces in a human joint varies rather slowly with load. In one particular hip joint at heel strike the real area of contact was calculated to be about 1.3 cm2 , the mean gap to be about 60 μm and the trapped volume to be about 80 percent of that when standing.

Copyright © 1980 by ASME
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