Simulation of Defects, Flexibility and Rupture in Biopolymer Networks

29 September 2021, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Networks of biopolymers occur often in nature, and are vulnerable to damage over time. In this work, a coarse grained model of collagen IV molecules is applied in a 2D hexagonal network and the mechanisms by which these networks can rupture are explored. The networks are stretched linearly in order to study their structural limits and mechanism of rupture over timescale of up to 100 microseconds. Metrics are developed to track the damage networks suffer over time, and qualitatively analyse ruptures that occur. Further simulations repeatedly stretch the networks sinusoidally to mimic the in vivo strains. Defects of increasing levels of complexity are introduced into an ordered network, and their effect on the rupturing behaviour of the biopolymer networks studied. The effect of introducing holes of varying size in the network, as well as strips of finite width to mimic surgical damage are studied. These demonstrate the importance of the flexibility of the networks to preventing damage.


lens capsule
coarse grained
graph theory
bond switching

Supplementary materials

Simulation of Defects, Flexibility and Rupture in Biopolymer Networks - Supplementary Information
Details of the graph to polymers algorithm used in the paper 'Simulation of Defects, Flexibility and Rupture in Biopolymer Networks'

Supplementary weblinks


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