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Poroelastic Fracture Transition of a Biopolymer Gel



Edwin P. Chan, Bradley R. Frieberg, Ronald L. Jones, Ray-Shimry Garatsa, John Bachert, Benjamin Crawshaw


Controlling the fracture behavior of thermoreversible biopolymer gels is important in many con- sumer based applications. For example, gelatin gels are used in the encapsulation and release in vitamin capsules, the manipulation of texture in gelled foods, as well as the application of cosmetic products onto skin. In this Letter, we study the effects of biopolymer gel structure on the viscoplas- tic fracture behavior of a gelatin gels, which is thermoreversible biopolymer gel. We demonstrate this viscoplastic mechanism, one characterized by polymer chain disentanglement followed by hydro- dynamic friction of individual polymer chains, scales with the mesh size of the gel as a power law up to a critical gel volume fraction, and then transitions to fracture via plastic deformation above this critical point. We observe that this critical gel volume fraction is determined by the thermal blob size of the gel as it defines the transition between semi- dilute solution concentration that enables chain diffusion versus concentrated solution that leads to topological constraints.
Soft Matter


gels, fracture, biopolymer, mechanics


Chan, E. , Frieberg, B. , Jones, R. , Garatsa, R. , Bachert, J. and Crawshaw, B. (2018), Poroelastic Fracture Transition of a Biopolymer Gel, Soft Matter, [online], (Accessed April 20, 2024)
Created May 24, 2018, Updated April 21, 2020