Ph.D. Thesis Defense by Rebeccah Jean Covert
Tuesday, March 25, 2003

(Dr. David Ku, advisor)

"Durability Evaluation for Articular Cartilage Prostheses"


Articular cartilage damage caused by degenerative joint disorders leads to pain and immobility for approximately seventy million people in the United States. Unfortunately, cartilage has inadequate repair mechanisms. Many treatment options are available for patients, but all have limitations. Recent advances in bioengineering have yielded new implant materials, such as PVA-cryogels, tissue engineered constructs, and modified xenograft cartilage, that may have the durability properties needed for a successful cartilage replacement. In this study, the mechanical durability of these biomaterials was evaluated; coefficient of friction, compression, shear, and wear characteristics were obtained. Simple, progressive, bench top tests were developed based on human knee kinematics and kinetics. The biomaterials were evaluated for the knee articular cartilage application using these tests and ranked according to their performance in relationship to fresh bovine cartilage.