A multiscale synthesis: characterizing acute cartilage failure under an aggregate tibiofemoral joint loading

Malek Adouni, Tanvir R. Faisal, Mohamed Gaith, Yasin Y. Dhaher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Knee articular cartilage is characterized by a complex mechanical behavior, posing a challenge to develop an efficient and precise model. We argue that the cartilage damage, in general, can be traced to the fibril level as a plastic deformation, defined as micro-defects. To investigate these micro-defects, we have developed a detailed finite element model of the entire healthy tibiofemoral joint (TF) including a multiscale constitutive model which considers the structural hierarchies of the articular cartilage. The net model was simulated under physiological loading conditions to predict joint response under 2000 N axial compression and damage initiation under high axial loading (max 7 KN) when the TF joint flexed to 30°. Computed results sufficiently agreed with earlier experimental and numerical studies. Further, initiation and propagation of damage in fibrils were computed at the tibial cartilage located mainly in the superficial and middle layers. Our simulation results also indicated that the stiffer the fibril is (higher cross-link densities), the higher the contact stress required to elicit a fibril yield and the higher the rate of yielding as a function of increased contact stress. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first model that combines macro-continuum joint mechanics and micromechanics at the tissue level. The computational construct presented here serves as a simulation platform to explore the interplay between acute cartilage damage and micromechanics characteristics at the tropocollagen level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1563-1575
Number of pages13
JournalBiomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • Cartilage damage
  • Fibrils
  • Multiscale model
  • Tibiofemoral joint
  • Tropocollagen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Mechanical Engineering


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