Is Synovial Fluid an Electrorheological Fluid?
This website is devoted to a body of research to ascertain whether synovial fluid(SF) is an electrorheological(ER) fluid. SF is the fluid which lubricates all the synovial joints in the body facilitating friction-less motion. An ER fluid changes its viscosity when an electric field is passed through it. Normal ER fluids get their properties from having an insulating liquid with conductive particles dispersed throughout it. SF is a conducting liquid, so the ER operators will have to be different to conventional ER fluids. It is thought that if SF is an ERF, that the pizoelectric voltage from the cartilage of the two ends of the joint could be creating unique rheological properties in the SF when a load is put through the joint. To measure what effect an electric field has on SF a rotational viscometer will be used with a custom ER attachment to allow varying electric fields to be applied to the sample while measuring the change in viscosity,if any.
Biological system in the human have always shown physical properties which are unexplained at first but usually have a purpose. By making the assumption that nothing in the biology is random, these physical properties can be a great way of finding out how the human body works. If it is found that SF is an ER fluid the implication would be that more research would be made into why it like this and may possibly reinvent how people think synovial joints work. The piezoelectric effect of bone is good example of this and links to synovial fluid . It has been known that it has these properties but was largely unknown why. Research into this area has linked it strain absorption and possibly bone healing. If synovial fluid is an ER fluid, the piezoelectric effect from the bone or even maybe the cartilage could be influencing this effect in synovial joint.