Curvature-induced cross-hatched order in two-dimensional semiflexible polymer networks

C.H.M.P. Vrusch, C. Storm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
109 Downloads (Pure)


A recurring motif in the organization of biological tissues are networks of long, fibrillar protein strands effectively confined to cylindrical surfaces. Often, the fibers in such curved, quasi-2D geometries adopt a characteristic order: the fibers wrap around the central axis at an angle which varies with radius and, in several cases, is strongly bimodally distributed. In this Letter, we investigate the general problem of a 2D crosslinked network of semiflexible fibers confined to a cylindrical substrate, and demonstrate that in such systems the trade-off between bending and stretching energies, very generically, gives rise to cross-hatched order. We discuss its general dependency on the radius of the confining cylinder, and present an intuitive model that illustrates the basic physical principle of curvature-induced order. Our findings shed new light on the potential origin of some curiously universal fiber orientational distributions in tissue biology, and suggests novel ways in which synthetic polymeric soft materials may be instructed or programmed to exhibit preselected macromolecular ordering.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)060602(R)
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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