Studies will be performed with especially prepared biological cartilage samples and tissue-engineered matrices under sterile conditions. Therefore this approach delivers physical as well as cell-biological data of the same sample and allows the determination of alterations of cartilage surface structure as well as metabolism and gene expression of chondrocytes due to applied stress regime. Whereas the investigation of lubrication and surface phenomena is already feasible by a "reductionistic" (routinely applicable) model, the simulation of the complex biomechanics of joints requires a more advanced one. Therefore, a further goal of this project is to validate a concept (mechanical device and an appropriate sensor technology) by which dynamically and statically occurring forces and pressure conditions in joints can be emulated and tribological and physical paramteres measured online.

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