The lubrication of articulating cartilage surfaces in joints occurs through several distinct modes. In the boundary mode of lubrication, load is supported by surface-to-surface contact, a feature that makes this mode particularly important for maintenance of the normally pristine articular surface. A boundary mode of lubrication is indicated by a kinetic friction coefficient being invariant with factors that influence formation of a fluid film, including sliding velocity and axial load. The objectives of this study were to (1) implement and extend an in vitro articular cartilage-on-cartilage lubrication test to elucidate the dependence of the friction properties on sliding velocity, axial load, and time, and establish conditions where a boundary mode of lubrication is dominant, and (2) determine the effects of synovial fluid (SF) on boundary lubrication using this test. The authors conclude that a boundary mode of lubrication was achieved in a cartilage-on-cartilage test configuration. Synovial fluid functioned as an effective friction-lowering boundary lubricant for native articular cartilage surfaces.
Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, Volume 15, Issue 1,