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      Structural Features and Nonlinear Rheology of Self-Assembled Networks of Cross-Linked Semiflexible Polymers.

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          Abstract

          Disordered networks of semiflexible filaments are common support structures in biology. Familiar examples include fibrous matrices in blood clots, bacterial biofilms, and essential components of cells and tissues of plants, animals, and fungi. Despite the ubiquity of these networks in biomaterials, we have only a limited understanding of the relationship between their structural features and their highly strain-sensitive mechanical properties. In this work, we perform simulations of three-dimensional networks produced by the irreversible formation of cross-links between linker-decorated semiflexible filaments. We characterize the structure of networks formed by a simple diffusion-dependent assembly process and measure their associated steady-state rheological features at finite temperature over a range of applied prestrains that encompass the strain-stiffening transition. We quantify the dependence of network connectivity on cross-linker availability and detail the associated connectivity dependence of both linear elasticity and nonlinear strain-stiffening behavior, drawing comparisons with prior experimental measurements of the cross-linker concentration-dependent elasticity of actin gels.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          J Phys Chem B
          The journal of physical chemistry. B
          American Chemical Society (ACS)
          1520-5207
          1520-5207
          Dec 22 2022
          : 126
          : 50
          Affiliations
          [1 ] College of Technology, University of Houston, Houston, Texas 77204, United States.
          [2 ] Center for Theoretical Biological Physics, Rice University, Houston, Texas 77005, United States.
          [3 ] Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Rice University, Houston, Texas 77005, United States.
          [4 ] Department of Chemistry, Rice University, Houston, Texas 77005, United States.
          [5 ] Department of Physics & Astronomy, Rice University, Houston, Texas 77005, United States.
          Article
          10.1021/acs.jpcb.2c05439
          36475770
          73709883-6863-413d-91f8-6d214a404c2f
          History

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