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Issue 37, 2017
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Simple contact mechanics model of the vertebrate cartilage

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We study a simple contact mechanics model of the vertebrate cartilage, which includes (bulk) osmotic effects. The surface roughness power spectrum of a pig cartilage is obtained from the measured surface topography. Using the Reynolds equations with fluid flow factors, calculated using the Persson contact mechanics theory and the Bruggeman effective medium theory, we show how the area of contact and the average interfacial separation change with time. We found that in most cases the contact area percolates, resulting in islands of confined fluid which carry most of the external load. Most importantly, we find that the pressure in the area of real contact is nearly independent of the external load, and well below 1 MPa. This allows the surfaces in the area of “real contact”, to be separated (at nanometer range separation distance) by osmotic repulsion, resulting in a very small (breakloose) friction force observed even after a long time of stationary contact.

Graphical abstract: Simple contact mechanics model of the vertebrate cartilage

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Publication details

The article was received on 17 Apr 2017, accepted on 14 Aug 2017 and first published on 15 Aug 2017

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7SM00753A
Citation: Soft Matter, 2017,13, 6349-6362
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    Simple contact mechanics model of the vertebrate cartilage

    B. N. J. Persson, A. Kovalev and S. N. Gorb, Soft Matter, 2017, 13, 6349
    DOI: 10.1039/C7SM00753A

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