An augmented lagrangian method for sliding contact of soft tissue

Hongqiang Guo, Jeffrey C. Nickel, Laura R. Iwasaki, Robert L. Spilker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Despite the importance of sliding contact in diarthrodial joints, only a limited number of studies have addressed this type of problem, with the result that the mechanical behavior of articular cartilage in daily life remains poorly understood. In this paper, a finite element formulation is developed for the sliding contact of biphasic soft tissues. The augmented Lagrangian method is used to enforce the continuity of contact traction and fluid pressure across the contact interface. The resulting method is implemented in the commercial software COMSOL Multiphysics. The accuracy of the new implementation is verified using an example problem of sliding contact between a rigid, impermeable indenter and a cartilage layer for which analytical solutions have been obtained. The new implementation's capability to handle a complex loading regime is verified by modeling plowing tests of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number084503
JournalJournal of Biomechanical Engineering
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • augmented Lagrangian method
  • biphasic
  • finite element method
  • sliding contact
  • temporomandibular disc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Physiology (medical)


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