Due to the fixed charge density (FCD) in the solid matrix and the ionic nature of the interstitial fluid, cartilage and other soft tissues exhibit coupling between mechanical (deformation, fluid flow, fluid pressurization) and electrical (current, streaming potential) phenomena (Maroudas et al., 1969; Frank and Grodzinsky, 1987). Similar behavior has long been recognized in soil mechanics, and linear finite element formulations have been developed (Lewis and Garner, 1972). Soft tissues, however, typically undergo large deformations and have material properties that strongly vary with deformation. To date, no finite element formulations have been introduced that are capable of representing the nonlinear, electromechanically coupled behavior of soft tissues.

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