Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Relaxation leads to lower elasticity: Model system delivers vital clues on the aging processes of elastic polymers

Date:
March 7, 2011
Source:
Technische Universitaet Muenchen
Summary:
As they age, many materials exhibit changes in their properties. Although such phenomena crop up in many domains, the underlying processes are oftentimes not fully understood. Particularly interesting in this context are polymer materials found in plastics and in biological systems. A group of physicists in Germany has developed a model system casting light on essential aspects of these processes.

Bended actin/fascin bundles indicate stress, incorporated when the network formed. As relaxations over time gradually diminish these tensions, their contribution to the network's elasticity disappears. (length of the bar: 2 ΅m)
Credit: TUM

Many materials, when observed over a sufficiently long period of time, show changes in their mechanical properties. The exact course of these developments depends on the underlying microscopic mechanisms. However, the microscopic structure and the complexity of the systems make direct observation extremely difficult.

That is why a team led by Professor Andreas Bausch from the Chair of Cellular Biophysics resorted to a model system that can be precisely controlled using actin filaments, a biopolymer that, among other things, is responsible for muscle contractions in the human body. Together with the crosslinking molecule fascin, actin filaments build an interconnected network whose elasticity decreases with increasing age. Deploying a wide-ranging combination of experimental techniques, the researchers have now managed to cast light on the source of these changes.

As the study published in Nature Materials shows, microscopic relaxation processes are the source of the macroscopic changes in the polymer network properties. During the formation of the network internal tensions build up. Because the linking points in the network are not of permanent nature, but rather open and close at random intervals, these tensions gradually diminish. Over a period of ten hours the elasticity drops to about a fifth of the initial value and then remains stable.

"Crosslinked and bundled actin filaments build networks that are essential for the stability of living cells," says Andreas Bausch, head of the Chair of Cellular Biophysics at the TU Muenchen and member of the Excellence Cluster Nanoinitiative Munich (NIM). "By understanding the microscopic causes for the incredible mutability of the cytoskeleton, we are laying the foundations to advance the development of other polymer materials, as well."

This research was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Excellence Cluster Nanosystems Initiative Munich, NIM), the Deutscher Akademischer Auslandsdienst (German Academic Exchange Service), the Elite Nework of Bavaria (CompInt), the CNES and the Rιgion Languedoc Roussillon, as well as the Institut Universitaire de France.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Technische Universitaet Muenchen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. O. Lieleg, J. Kayser, G. Brambilla, L. Cipelletti, A. R. Bausch. Slow dynamics and internal stress relaxation in bundled cytoskeletal networks. Nature Materials, 2011; 10 (3): 236 DOI: 10.1038/NMAT2939

Cite This Page:

Technische Universitaet Muenchen. "Relaxation leads to lower elasticity: Model system delivers vital clues on the aging processes of elastic polymers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110301184058.htm>.
Technische Universitaet Muenchen. (2011, March 7). Relaxation leads to lower elasticity: Model system delivers vital clues on the aging processes of elastic polymers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110301184058.htm
Technische Universitaet Muenchen. "Relaxation leads to lower elasticity: Model system delivers vital clues on the aging processes of elastic polymers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110301184058.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — The MIT BioSuit could be an alternative to big, bulky traditional spacesuits, but the concept needs some work. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Virtual Reality Headsets Unveiled at Tokyo Game Show

Virtual Reality Headsets Unveiled at Tokyo Game Show

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) — Several companies unveiled virtual reality headsets at the Tokyo Game Show, Asia's largest digital entertainment exhibition. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Apple's iOS8 Includes New 'Killswitch' To Curb Theft

Apple's iOS8 Includes New 'Killswitch' To Curb Theft

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) — Apple's new operating system, iOS 8, comes with Apple's killswitch feature already activated, unlike all the models before it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stocks Hit All-Time High as Fed Holds Steady

Stocks Hit All-Time High as Fed Holds Steady

AP (Sep. 17, 2014) — The Federal Reserve signaled Wednesday that it plans to keep a key interest rate at a record low because a broad range of U.S. economic measures remain subpar. Stocks hit an all-time high on the news. (Sept. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins