Biopolymer gels such as fibrin and collagen networks are known to develop tensile axial stress when subject to torsion. This negative normal stress is opposite to the classical Poynting effect observed for most elastic solids including synthetic polymer gels, where torsion provokes a positive normal stress. As shown recently, this anomalous behavior in fibrin gels depends on the open, porous network structure of biopolymer gels, which facilitates interstitial fluid flow during shear and can be described by a phenomenological two-fluid model with viscous coupling between network and solvent. Here we extend this model and develop a microscopic model for the individual diagonal components of the stress tensor that determine the axial response of semiflexible polymer hydrogels. This microscopic model predicts that the magnitude of these stress components depends inversely on the characteristic strain for the onset of nonlinear shear stress, which we confirm experimentally by shear rheometry on fibrin gels. Moreover, our model predicts a transient behavior of the normal stress, which is in excellent agreement with the full time-dependent normal stress we measure.
Phys. Rev. E
Biological Soft Matter-Former Group

Vahabi, M., Vos, B., de Cagny, H., Bonn, D., Koenderink, G., & MacKintosh, F. (2018). Normal stresses in semiflexible polymer hydrogels. Phys. Rev. E, 97(3, Article number: 032418), 1–11. doi:10.1103/PhysRevE.97.032418