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Title: Hyperelastic continuum models for isotropic athermal fibrous networks
Many biological materials contain fibrous protein networks as their main structural components. Understanding the mechanical properties of such networks is important for creating biomimicking materials for cell and tissue engineering, and for developing novel tools for detecting and diagnosing disease. In this work, we develop continuum models for isotropic, athermal fibrous networks by combining a single-fibre model that describes the axial response of individual fibres, with network models that assemble individual fibre properties into overall network behaviour. In particular, we consider four different network models, including the affine, three-chain, eight-chain, and micro-sphere models, which employ different assumptions about network structure and kinematics. We systematically investigate the ability of these models to describe the mechanical response of athermal collagen and fibrin networks by comparing model predictions with experimental data. We test how each model captures network behaviour under three different loading conditions: uniaxial tension, simple shear, and combined tension and shear. We find that the affine and three-chain models can accurately describe both the axial and shear behaviour, whereas the eight-chain and micro-sphere models fail to capture the shear response, leading to unphysical zero shear moduli at infinitesimal strains. Our study is the first to systematically investigate the applicability of popular network models for describing the macroscopic behaviour of athermal fibrous networks, offering insights for selecting efficient models that can be used for large-scale, finite-element simulations of athermal networks.  more » « less
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Interface Focus
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National Science Foundation
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