Date of Award

December 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Michelle M. Blum

Second Advisor

Alan J. Levy


articular cartilage, biomimetic, fibermat, friction, hydrogel, lubrication

Subject Categories



Anytime two surfaces are in normal contact, accompanied by tangential motion, there is potential for deterioration of one or both surfaces. Gradual wear, or the removal of surface material, is typically an undesirable event. Therefore, the need for lubrication arises to minimize the amount of shear stress that develops between opposing surfaces. This reduction in shear stress is characterized by the coefficient of friction (COF). Friction is one of the primary subjects of interest in tribology, the science of the friction and wear of articulating surfaces.

A number of fascinating tribological systems can be found in nature. One example which has drawn a considerable interest is articular cartilage. This smooth white tissue lines the articulating surfaces of our joints and sustains a tremendous amount of stress while maintaining smooth joint motion and low COF. The low COF exhibited by articular cartilage is unmatched by any man-made material. The phenomenal tribological properties of this biphasic material are attributed to a combination of a unique boundary lubrication mechanism and its ability to support interstitial fluid pressurization

This dissertation details the synthesis and characterization of novel tribologically enhanced polymeric materials which show great potential for several biomedical applications. Design of these material relied on the use of biomimetic tribological mechanisms. The overarching characterization described in this investigation provides valuable insight into the physical and mechanical characteristics of these unique materials.


Open Access

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