Mechanics of Soft Gels: Linear and Nonlinear Response

  • Mehdi BouzidEmail author
  • Emanuela Del Gado
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Soft gels are materials at the core of material technological innovation, and as such, they are constantly evolving to meet different requirements in terms of performance, reliability, durability, and environmental impact. Despite many progresses made in the case of polymer gels, a consistent theoretical framework for the relationship between the microscopic structure and the mechanical properties of a wide range of materials ranging from colloidal gels to protein and biopolymer gels is still lacking. A multitude of different phenomena are observed – aging, strain stiffening, creep, banding, and fracture – that are difficult to control and properly tune to design the material properties. Here we discuss how numerical simulations of suitably designed microscopic models can help develop novel insight into the microscopic mechanisms that underlie the complex dynamics of these versatile materials. We provide an overview of the computational approach we have recently developed and of the main outcomes obtained. Finally we discuss outstanding questions and future developments.



The authors thank the Impact Program of the Georgetown Environmental Initiative and Georgetown University for funding and the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California Santa Barbara for hospitality. This research was supported in part by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. NSF PHY17-48958. EDG thanks ESPCI Paris for hospitality and support through the Chair Joliot program.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LPTMS, CNRS, Univ. Paris-SudUniversité Paris-SaclayOrsayFrance
  2. 2.Department of Physics, Institute for Soft Matter Synthesis and MetrologyGeorgetown UniversityWashingtonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Emanuela Del Gado
    • 1
  • Roland J. -M. Pellenq
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Physics, Institute for Soft Matter Synthesis and MetrologyGeorgetown UniversityWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.MSE2, the MIT/CNRS/Aix-Marseille University Joint LaboratoryMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA
  4. 4.Centre Interdisciplinaire des Nanosciences de MarseilleCNRS and Aix-Marseille UniversityMarseilleFrance

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