Local mechanical response in semiflexible polymer networks subjected to an axisymmetric prestress

David A. Head, Daisuke Mizuno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Analytical and numerical calculations are presented for the mechanical response of fiber networks in a state of axisymmetric prestress, in the limit where geometric nonlinearities such as fiber rotation are negligible. This allows us to focus on the anisotropy deriving purely from the nonlinear force-extension curves of individual fibers. The number of independent elastic coefficients for isotropic, axisymmetric, and fully anisotropic networks are enumerated before deriving expressions for the response to a locally applied force that can be tested against, e.g., microrheology experiments. Localized forces can generate anisotropy away from the point of application, so numerical integration of nonlinear continuum equations is employed to determine the stress field, and induced mechanical anisotropy, at points located directly behind and in front of a force monopole. Results are presented for the wormlike chain model in normalized forms, allowing them to be easily mapped to a range of systems. Finally, the relevance of these findings to naturally occurring systems and directions for future investigation are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number022717
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 28 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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