We previously reported an ultrasound method for measuring the depth-dependent equilibrium mechanical properties of articular cartilage using quasi-static compression. The objective of this paper was to introduce our recent development for nondestructively measuring the transient depth-dependent strains of full-thickness articular cartilage specimens prepared from bovine patellae. A 50 MHz focused ultrasound transducer was used to collect ultrasound echoes from articular cartilage specimens (n=8) and sponge phantoms with open pores (n=10) during tests of compression and subsequent stress-relaxation. The transient displacements of the tissues at different depths along the compression direction were calculated from the ultrasound echoes using a cross-correlation tracking technique. An LVDT sensor and a load cell were used to measure the overall deformation of the tissue and the applied force, respectively. Results showed that the tissues inside the cartilage layer continued to move during the stress-relaxation phase after the compression was completed. In the equilibrium state, the displacements of the cartilage tissues at the depths of 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 of the full-thickness reduced by 51%±22%, 54%±17%, and 50±17%, respectively, in comparison with its peak value. However, no similar phenomenon was observed in the sponge phantoms. Our preliminary results demonstrated that this ultrasound method may provide a potential tool for the nondestructive measurement of the transient depth-dependent processes involved in biological and bioengineered soft tissues as well as soft biomaterials under dynamic loading.
- Articular cartilage
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Biomedical Engineering