Stress management in composite biopolymer networks

Federica Burla, Justin Tauber, Simone Dussi, Jasper van der Gucht, Gijsje H. Koenderink*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Living tissues show an extraordinary adaptiveness to strain, which is crucial for their proper biological functioning 1,2. The physical origin of this mechanical behaviour has been widely investigated using reconstituted networks of collagen fibres, the principal load-bearing component of tissues 3–5. However, collagen fibres in tissues are embedded in a soft hydrated polysaccharide matrix, which generates substantial internal stresses, and the effect of this on tissue mechanics is unknown 6–8 . Here, by combining mechanical measurements and computer simulations, we show that networks composed of collagen fibres and a hyaluronan matrix exhibit synergistic mechanics characterized by an enhanced stiffness and delayed strain stiffening. We demonstrate that the polysaccharide matrix has a dual effect on the composite response involving both internal stress and elastic reinforcement. Our findings elucidate how tissues can tune their strain-sensitivity over a wide range and provide a novel design principle for synthetic materials with programmable mechanical properties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-553
Number of pages13
JournalNature physics
Volume15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2019

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biopolymers
collagens
composite materials
polysaccharides
residual stress
fibers
matrices
mechanical measurement
stiffening
reinforcement
stiffness
computerized simulation
mechanical properties
sensitivity
simulation

Cite this

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title = "Stress management in composite biopolymer networks",
abstract = "Living tissues show an extraordinary adaptiveness to strain, which is crucial for their proper biological functioning 1,2. The physical origin of this mechanical behaviour has been widely investigated using reconstituted networks of collagen fibres, the principal load-bearing component of tissues 3–5. However, collagen fibres in tissues are embedded in a soft hydrated polysaccharide matrix, which generates substantial internal stresses, and the effect of this on tissue mechanics is unknown 6–8 . Here, by combining mechanical measurements and computer simulations, we show that networks composed of collagen fibres and a hyaluronan matrix exhibit synergistic mechanics characterized by an enhanced stiffness and delayed strain stiffening. We demonstrate that the polysaccharide matrix has a dual effect on the composite response involving both internal stress and elastic reinforcement. Our findings elucidate how tissues can tune their strain-sensitivity over a wide range and provide a novel design principle for synthetic materials with programmable mechanical properties.",
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year = "2019",
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Stress management in composite biopolymer networks. / Burla, Federica; Tauber, Justin; Dussi, Simone; van der Gucht, Jasper; Koenderink, Gijsje H.

In: Nature physics, Vol. 15, 25.02.2019, p. 549-553.

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Stress management in composite biopolymer networks

AU - Burla, Federica

AU - Tauber, Justin

AU - Dussi, Simone

AU - van der Gucht, Jasper

AU - Koenderink, Gijsje H.

PY - 2019/2/25

Y1 - 2019/2/25

N2 - Living tissues show an extraordinary adaptiveness to strain, which is crucial for their proper biological functioning 1,2. The physical origin of this mechanical behaviour has been widely investigated using reconstituted networks of collagen fibres, the principal load-bearing component of tissues 3–5. However, collagen fibres in tissues are embedded in a soft hydrated polysaccharide matrix, which generates substantial internal stresses, and the effect of this on tissue mechanics is unknown 6–8 . Here, by combining mechanical measurements and computer simulations, we show that networks composed of collagen fibres and a hyaluronan matrix exhibit synergistic mechanics characterized by an enhanced stiffness and delayed strain stiffening. We demonstrate that the polysaccharide matrix has a dual effect on the composite response involving both internal stress and elastic reinforcement. Our findings elucidate how tissues can tune their strain-sensitivity over a wide range and provide a novel design principle for synthetic materials with programmable mechanical properties.

AB - Living tissues show an extraordinary adaptiveness to strain, which is crucial for their proper biological functioning 1,2. The physical origin of this mechanical behaviour has been widely investigated using reconstituted networks of collagen fibres, the principal load-bearing component of tissues 3–5. However, collagen fibres in tissues are embedded in a soft hydrated polysaccharide matrix, which generates substantial internal stresses, and the effect of this on tissue mechanics is unknown 6–8 . Here, by combining mechanical measurements and computer simulations, we show that networks composed of collagen fibres and a hyaluronan matrix exhibit synergistic mechanics characterized by an enhanced stiffness and delayed strain stiffening. We demonstrate that the polysaccharide matrix has a dual effect on the composite response involving both internal stress and elastic reinforcement. Our findings elucidate how tissues can tune their strain-sensitivity over a wide range and provide a novel design principle for synthetic materials with programmable mechanical properties.

U2 - 10.1038/s41567-019-0443-6

DO - 10.1038/s41567-019-0443-6

M3 - Letter

VL - 15

SP - 549

EP - 553

JO - Nature physics

JF - Nature physics

SN - 1745-2473

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