Effects of Inserting a Pressensor Film Into Articular Joints on the Actual Contact Mechanics

[+] Author and Article Information
J. Z. Wu, W. Herzog, M. Epstein

Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4

J Biomech Eng 120(5), 655-659 (Oct 01, 1998) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2834758 History: Received May 06, 1997; Revised February 25, 1998; Online January 23, 2008


Fuji film has been widely used in studies aimed at obtaining the contact mechanics of articular joints. Once sealed for practical use in biological joints, Fuji Pressensor film has a total effective thickness of 0.30 mm, which is comparable to the cartilage thickness in the joints of many small animals. The average effective elastic modulus of Fuji film is approximately 100 MPa in compression, which is larger by a factor of 100–300 compared to that of normal articular cartilage. Therefore, inserting a Pressensor film into an articular joint will change the contact mechanics of the joint. The measurement precision of the Pressensor film has been determined systematically; however, the changes in contact mechanics associated with inserting the film into joints have not been investigated. This study was aimed at quantifying the changes in the contact mechanics associated with inserting sealed Fuji Pressensor film into joints. Spherical and cylindrical articular joint contact mechanics with and without Pressensor film and for varying degrees of surface congruency were analyzed and compared by using finite element models. The Pressensor film was taken as linearly elastic and the cartilage was assumed to be biphasic, composed of a linear elastic solid phase and an inviscid fluid phase. The present analyses showed that measurements of the joint contact pressures with Fuji Pressensor film will change the maximum true contact pressures by 10–26 percent depending on the loading, geometry of the joints, and the mechanical properties of cartilage. Considering this effect plus the measurement precision of the film (approximately 10 percent), the measured joint contact pressures in a joint may contain errors as large as 14–28 percent.

Copyright © 1998 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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