Lecture: "Mechanical phase transitions and elastic anomalies in fibrous networks "


Professor Frederick C. MacKintosh
Abercrombie Professor, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Department of Chemistry
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Rice University, Houston, Texas, USA


03 May 2023, 11:00 
Flekser Hall (118), Kaplun Building 

Professor Frederick C. MacKintosh is an IAS Distinguished Scholar of the Mortimer and Raymond Sackler Institute of Advanced Studies for the academic year 2022/2023.



The mechanics of cells and tissues are largely governed by scaffolds of filamentous proteins. Particularly common examples of these are the collagen fiber networks of extracellular matrices. There is now increasing evidence that the mechanics of such fibrous structures are governed by underlying mechanical phase transitions reminiscent of the rigidity transition identified by James Clerk Maxwell for macroscopic engineering structures: networks of struts or springs exhibit a continuous, second-order phase transition at the isostatic point, where the number of constraints imposed by connectivity just equals the number of mechanical degrees of freedom.

By contrast, fibrous networks in 3D exhibit a line of critical transitions as a function of strain rather than connectivity. These transitions have shown remarkable richness, including nonmean-field critical behavior. We will present recent theoretical predictions and experimental evidence for such strain-controlled mechanical phase transitions in biopolymer networks, as well as some of the elastic signatures and anomalies such as unexpectedly large Poisson ratios and inverse Poynitng effect governed by these transitions.



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