Simulation of the mechanical behavior of random fiber networks with different microstructure
Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, University of Illinois at Chicago, 60607, Chicago, IL, USA
* e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 27 April 2018
Published online: 24 May 2018
Filamentous protein networks are broadly encountered in biological systems such as cytoskeleton and extracellular matrix. Many numerical studies have been conducted to better understand the fundamental mechanisms behind the striking mechanical properties of these networks. In most of these previous numerical models, the Mikado algorithm has been used to represent the network microstructure. Here, a different algorithm is used to create random fiber networks in order to investigate possible roles of architecture on the elastic behavior of filamentous networks. In particular, random fibrous structures are generated from the growth of individual fibers from random nucleation points. We use computer simulations to determine the mechanical behavior of these networks in terms of their model parameters. The findings are presented and discussed along with the response of Mikado fiber networks. We demonstrate that these alternative networks and Mikado networks show a qualitatively similar response. Nevertheless, the overall elasticity of Mikado networks is stiffer compared to that of the networks created using the alternative algorithm. We describe the effective elasticity of both network types as a function of their line density and of the material properties of the filaments. We also characterize the ratio of bending and axial energy and discuss the behavior of these networks in terms of their fiber density distribution and coordination number.
Key words: Soft Matter: Polymers and Polyelectrolytes
© EDP Sciences, SIF, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature, 2018