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Journal Article

Topology Counts: Force Distributions in Circular Spring Networks


Heidemann,  Knut M.
Group Physics of social systems, Department of Dynamics of Complex Fluids, Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, Max Planck Society;

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Heidemann, K. M., Sageman-Furnas, A. O., Sharma, A., Rehfeldt, F., Schmidt, C. F., & Wardetzky, M. (2018). Topology Counts: Force Distributions in Circular Spring Networks. Physical Review Letters, 120(6): 068001. doi:10.1103/physrevlett.120.068001.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-0B41-6
Filamentous polymer networks govern the mechanical properties of many biological materials. Force distributions within these networks are typically highly inhomogeneous, and, although the importance of force distributions for structural properties is well recognized, they are far from being understood quantitatively. Using a combination of probabilistic and graph-theoretical techniques, we derive force distributions in a model system consisting of ensembles of random linear spring networks on a circle. We show that characteristic quantities, such as the mean and variance of the force supported by individual springs, can be derived explicitly in terms of only two parameters: (i) average connectivity and (ii) number of nodes. Our analysis shows that a classical mean-field approach fails to capture these characteristic quantities correctly. In contrast, we demonstrate that network topology is a crucial determinant of force distributions in an elastic spring network. Our results for 1D linear spring networks readily generalize to arbitrary dimensions.