The micromechanics of 3d collagen gels
Tuesday, June 10, 2008 - 11:15am - 12:15pm
Collagen is the most abundant animal protein and its mechanics have been studied in great detai. It takes on many morphologies, including skin, tendons, ligaments, individual fibers, and gels. Of particular interest is the mechanics of collagen-I gels. These gels provide a relatively simple structure that can be noninvasively observed by confocal microscopy and used as a scaffold for growing artificial tissues, and as a 3d environment for studying cell motility and tumor invasion. A critical first step in understanding these systems is to develop a model for the collagen gel alone. In this paper we give a successful theoretical model of the micromechanics of realistic networks.