Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Franck J. Vernerey

Second Advisor

Richard A. Regueiro

Third Advisor

Stephanie J. Bryant


The goal of this thesis is to build a clear model of biological tissues growth, especially cartilage. But because tissues are complicated, simplifications and assumptions have to be made. In experiments, engineered tissues are often using hydrogels, because of their ability to mimic the real system. However, strategies to date are suboptimal in part because designing degradable hydrogels is complicated by structural and temporal complexities of the gel and evolving tissue along multiple length scales. To address this problem, this study proposes a multi-scale mechanical model using a quadriphasic formulation (solid, fluid, unbound matrix molecules, enzymes) based on a single chondrocyte releasing extracellular matrix molecules and enzymes within a degrading hydrogel. This model describes the key players of the biological system within the hydrogel encompassing different length scales. Different mechanisms are included: temporal changes of bulk properties due to hydrogel degradation, and matrix molecules transport. Numerical results show the competition between the diffusion of the matrix molecules and the the diffusion of the enzymes degrading the scaffold.