Author(s): Stammen JA, Williams S, Ku DN, Guldberg RE
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Abstract Poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) hydrogels have been proposed as promising biomaterials to replace diseased or damaged articular cartilage. A critical barrier to their use as load-bearing tissue replacements is a lack of sufficient mechanical properties. The purpose of this study was to characterize the functional compressive and shear mechanical properties of a novel PVA hydrogel. Two formulations of the biomaterial were tested, one with a lower water content (75\% water), and the other with higher water content (80\% water). The compressive tangent modulus varied with biomaterial formulation and was found to be statistically strain magnitude and rate dependent. Over a strain range of 10-60\%, the compressive modulus increased from approximately 1-18 MPa, which is within the range of the modulus of articular cartilage. The shear tangent modulus (0.1-0.4 MPa) was also found to be strain magnitude dependent and within the range of normal human articular cartilage, but it was not statistically dependent on strain rate, This behavior was attributed to the dominance of fluid flow and related frictional drag on the viscoelastic behavior. Compressive failure of the hydrogels was found to occur between 45 and 60\% strain, depending on water content.
This article was published in Biomaterials
and referenced in Journal of Tissue Science & Engineering