Feasibility of agent-based modelling of articular cartilage including a conceptual representation of its structure

Duong, Quang Thien (2012) Feasibility of agent-based modelling of articular cartilage including a conceptual representation of its structure. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

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Articular cartilage is a complex structure with an architecture in which fluid-swollen proteoglycans constrained within a 3D network of collagen fibrils. Because of the complexity of the cartilage structure, the relationship between its mechanical behaviours at the macroscale level and its components at the micro-scale level are not completely understood.

The research objective in this thesis is to create a new model of articular cartilage that can be used to simulate and obtain insight into the micro-macro-interaction and mechanisms underlying its mechanical responses during physiological function. The new model of articular cartilage has two characteristics, namely: i) not use fibre-reinforced composite material idealization ii) Provide a framework for that it does probing the micro mechanism of the fluid-solid interaction underlying the deformation of articular cartilage using simple rules of repartition instead of constitutive / physical laws and intuitive curve-fitting.

Even though there are various microstructural and mechanical behaviours that can be studied, the scope of this thesis is limited to osmotic pressure formation and distribution and their influence on cartilage fluid diffusion and percolation, which in turn governs the deformation of the compression-loaded tissue.

The study can be divided into two stages. In the first stage, the distributions and concentrations of proteoglycans, collagen and water were investigated using histological protocols. Based on this, the structure of cartilage was conceptualised as microscopic osmotic units that consist of these constituents that were distributed according to histological results. These units were repeated three-dimensionally to form the structural model of articular cartilage. In the second stage, cellular automata were incorporated into the resulting matrix (lattice) to simulate the osmotic pressure of the fluid and the movement of water within and out of the matrix; following the osmotic pressure gradient in accordance with the chosen rule of repartition of the pressure.

The outcome of this study is the new model of articular cartilage that can be used to simulate and study the micromechanical behaviours of cartilage under different conditions of health and loading. These behaviours are illuminated at the microscale level using the socalled neighbourhood rules developed in the thesis in accordance with the typical requirements of cellular automata modelling. Using these rules and relevant Boundary Conditions to simulate pressure distribution and related fluid motion produced significant results that provided the following insight into the relationships between osmotic pressure gradient and associated fluid micromovement, and the deformation of the matrix. For example, it could be concluded that: 1. It is possible to model articular cartilage with the agent-based model of cellular automata and the Margolus neighbourhood rule.

  1. The concept of 3D inter connected osmotic units is a viable structural model for the extracellular matrix of articular cartilage.

  2. Different rules of osmotic pressure advection lead to different patterns of deformation in the cartilage matrix, enabling an insight into how this micromechanism influences macromechanical deformation.

  3. When features such as transition coefficient were changed, permeability (representing change) is altered due to the change in concentrations of collagen, proteoglycans (i.e.

degenerative conditions), the deformation process is impacted.

  1. The boundary conditions also influence the relationship between osmotic pressure gradient and fluid movement at the micro-scale level.

The outcomes are important to cartilage research since we can use these to study the microscale damage in the cartilage matrix. From this, we are able to monitor related diseases and their progression leading to potential insight into drug-cartilage interaction for treatment. This innovative model is an incremental progress on attempts at creating further computational modelling approaches to cartilage research and other fluid-saturated tissues and material systems.

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ID Code: 57989
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Oloyede, Kunle
Keywords: articular cartilage, multiscale modelling, osmotic pressure, fluid diffusion, deformation, cellular automata, margolus neighbourhood, virtual clay model
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 08 Mar 2013 02:21
Last Modified: 12 Sep 2015 04:12

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