A cartilage-inspired lubrication system

George W. Greene*, Anna Olszewska, Monika Osterberg, Haijin Zhu, Roger Horn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Articular cartilage is an example of a highly efficacious water-based, natural lubrication system that is optimized to provide low friction and wear protection at both low and high loads and sliding velocities. One of the secrets of cartilage's superior tribology comes from a unique, multimodal lubrication strategy consisting of both a fluid pressurization mediated lubrication mechanism and a boundary lubrication mechanism supported by surface bound macromolecules. Using a reconstituted network of highly interconnected cellulose fibers and simple modification through the immobilization of polyelectrolytes, we have recreated many of the mechanical and chemical properties of cartilage and the cartilage lubrication system to produce a purely synthetic material system that exhibits some of the same lubrication mechanisms, time dependent friction response, and high wear resistance as natural cartilage tissue. Friction and wear studies demonstrate how the properties of the cellulose fiber network can be used to control and optimize the lubrication and wear resistance of the material surfaces and highlight what key features of cartilage should be duplicated in order to produce a cartilage-mimetic lubrication system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)374-382
Number of pages9
JournalSoft Matter
Issue number2
StatePublished - 14 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


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