Nonequilibrium systems that are driven or drive themselves towards a critical point have been studied for almost three decades. Here we present a minimalist example of such a system, motivated by experiments on collapsing active elastic networks. Our model of an unstable elastic network exhibits a collapse towards a critical point from any macroscopically connected initial configuration. Taking into account steric interactions within the network, the model qualitatively and quantitatively reproduces results of the experiments on collapsing active gels.

Phys. Rev. E
Biological Soft Matter-Former Group

Sheinman, M, Sharma, A, Alvarado, J, Koenderink, G.H, & MacKintosh, F.C. (2015). Inherently unstable networks collapse to a critical point. Phys. Rev. E, 92(Article number: 012710), 1–6. doi:10.1103/PhysRevE.92.012710