Effect of frequency on crack growth in articular cartilage

Hamid Sadeghi, Bernard Michael Lawless, Daniel Espino, Duncan Shepherd

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16 Citations (Scopus)
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Cracks can occur in the articular cartilage surface due to the mechanical loading of the synovial joint, trauma or wear and tear. However, the propagation of such cracks under different frequencies of loading is unknown. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of frequency of loading on the growth of a pre-existing crack in cartilage specimens subjected to cyclic tensile strain. A 2.26 mm crack was introduced into cartilage specimens and crack growth was achieved by applying a sinusoidally varying tensile strain at frequencies of 1, 10 and 100 Hz (i.e. corresponding to normal, above normal and up to rapid heel-strike rise times, respectively). These frequencies were applied with a strain of
between 10-20 % and the crack length was measured at 0, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000 cycles of strain. Crack growth increased with increasing number of cycles. The maximum crack growth was 0.6 ± 0.3 (mean ± standard deviation), 0.8 ± 0.2 and 1.1 ± 0.4 mm at frequencies of 1, 10 and 100 Hz, respectively following 10,000 cycles. Mean crack growth were 0.3 ± 0.2 and 0.4 ± 0.2 at frequencies of 1 and 10 Hz, respectively. However, this value increased up to 0.6 ± 0.4 mm at a frequency of 100 Hz. This study demonstrates that crack growth was greater at higher frequencies. The findings of this study may have implications in the early onset of osteoarthritis. This is because rapid heel-strike rise times have been implicated in the early onset of osteoarthritis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-46
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
Early online date1 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • articular cartilage
  • crack growth
  • frequency
  • osteoarthritis
  • tensile


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