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Phys Rev Lett. 2005 Oct 21;95(17):178102. Epub 2005 Oct 18.

Alternative explanation of stiffening in cross-linked semiflexible networks.

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  • 1Micromechanics of Materials, Materials Science Centre, Nijenborgh 4, 9747 AG Groningen, The Netherlands.


Strain stiffening of filamentous protein networks is explored by means of a finite strain analysis of a two-dimensional network model of cross-linked semiflexible filaments. The results show that stiffening is caused by nonaffine network rearrangements that govern a transition from a bending-dominated response at small strains to a stretching-dominated response at large strains. Filament undulations, which are key in the existing explanation of stiffening, merely postpone the transition.

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