Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Virginia L. Ferguson

Second Advisor

Corey P. Neu

Third Advisor

Stephanie J. Bryant

Fourth Advisor

Frank W. DelRio

Fifth Advisor

Rong Long


This work focused on characterizing the mechanical behavior of biological material in physiologically relevant conditions and at sub millimeter length scales. Elucidating the time, length scale, and directionally dependent mechanical behavior of cartilage and other biological materials is critical to adequately recapitulate native mechanosensory cues for cells, create computational models that mimic native tissue behavior, and assess disease progression. This work focused on three broad aspects of characterizing the mechanical behavior of articular cartilage. First, we sought to reveal the causes of time-dependent deformation and variation of mechanical properties with distance from the articular surface. Second, we investigated size dependence of mechanical properties. Finally, we examined material anisotropy of both the calcified and uncalcified tissues of the osteochondral interface. This research provides insight into how articular cartilage serves to support physiologic loads and simultaneously sustain chondrocyte viability.