A key goal of functional cartilage tissue engineering is to develop constructs with mechanical properties approaching those of the native tissue. Herein we describe a number of tests to characterize the mechanical properties of tissue engineered cartilage. Specifically, methods to determine the equilibrium confined compressive (or aggregate) modulus, the equilibrium unconfined compressive (or Young's) modulus, and the dynamic modulus of tissue engineered cartilaginous constructs are described. As these measurements are commonly used in both the articular cartilage mechanics literature and the cartilage tissue engineering literature to describe the mechanical functionality of cartilaginous constructs, they facilitate comparisons to be made between the properties of native and engineered tissues.
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