A minimal model of elastic instabilities in biological filament bundles

Chris Prior, Jack Panter, Halim Kusumaatmaja

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We present a model of a system of elastic fibres which exhibits complex, coupled, nonlinear deformations via a connecting elastic spring network. This model can capture physically observed deformations such as global buckling, pinching and internal collapse. We explore the transitions between these deformation modes numerically, using an energy minimization approach, highlighting how supported environments, or stiff outer sheath structures, favour internal structural collapse over global deformation. We then derive a novel analytic buckling criterion for the internal collapse of the system, a mode of structural collapse pertinent in many biological filament bundles such as the optic nerve bundle and microtubule bundles involved in cell abscission.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20220287
JournalJournal of The Royal Society Interface
Issue number194
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sep 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • cell abcission
  • filament bundles
  • glaucoma
  • internal buckling

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