Stiffness transition in anisotropic fiber nets

J.A. Åström, P.B.S. Kumar, M.E.J. Karttunen

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We demonstrate the existence of a percolationlike stiffness transition in fiber networks with a bidisperse orientation distribution and with fiber densities clearly above the geometrical and the ordinary stiffness transition. The fibers are oriented parallel and perpendicular to a strain direction and they have a large fiber aspect ratio. The stiffness K of the fiber nets can be described by a scaling relation, K¿tag[(e-ec)/t-ß], where t is the fraction of fibers parallel to strain. g is a scaling function that is roughly described by a power law g(x)¿x¿ for stiffness above the transition and by a constant below the transition. The transition point is characterized by qualitative changes in the distribution of the elastic deformation energy of the fibers, the deformation mode of the fibers, the effective Poisson ratio of the nets, the distribution of elastic energy on fibers and cross links, and the ratio of elastic and viscous dissipation energy. This transition opens the possibility of extreme stiffness variations with minimal mesh manipulations in the vicinity of the transition (i.e., a stiffness gate). It is possible that this transition affects the mechanical behavior of the cytoskeleton in cells.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)021922-1/7
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


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