From ribbons to tubules: a computational study of the polymorphism in aggregation of helical filaments†
A simple, coarse-grained model of chiral, helical filaments is used to study the polymorphism of fibrous aggregates. Three generic morphologies of the aggregates are observed: ribbons, in which the filaments are joined side-by-side, twisted, helicoidal fibrils, in which filaments entwine along each other and tubular forms, with filaments wound together around a hollow core of the tube. A relative simplicity of the model allows us to supplement numerical simulations with an analytic description of the elastic properties of the aggregates. The model is capable of predicting geometric and structural characteristics of the composite structures, as well as their relative stabilities. We also investigate in detail the transitions between different morphologies of the aggregates.