Directed force propagation in semiflexible networks
We consider the propagation of tension along specific filaments of a semiflexible filament network in response to the application of a point force using a combination of numerical simulations and analytic theory. We find the distribution of force within the network is highly heterogeneous, with a small number of fibers supporting a significant fraction of the applied load over distances of multiple mesh sizes surrounding the point of force application. We suggest that these structures may be thought of as tensile force chains, whose structure we explore via simulation. We develop self-consistent calculations of the point-force response function and introduce a transfer matrix approach to explore the decay of tension (into bending) energy and the branching of tensile force chains in the network.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Force transmission by nonlinear biomaterials