Mechanical response of collagen molecule under hydrostatic compression


DOI: 10.1016/j.msec.2015.01.032

Proteins like collagen are the basic building blocks of various body tissues (soft and hard). Collagen molecules find their presence in the skeletal system of the body where they bear mechanical loads from different directions, either individually or along with hydroxy-apatite crystals. Therefore, it is very important to understand the mechanical behavior of the collagen molecule which is subjected to multi-axial state of loading. The estimation of strains of collagen molecule along different directions resulting from the changes in hydrostatic pressure magnitude, can provide us new insights into its mechanical behavior. In the present work, full atomistic simulations have been used to study global (volumetric) as well as local (along different directions) mechanical properties of the hydrated collagen molecule which is subjected to different hydrostatic pressure magnitudes. To estimate the local mechanical properties, the strains of collagen molecule along its longitudinal and transverse directions have been acquired at different hydrostatic pressure magnitudes. In spite of non-homogeneous distribution of atoms within the collagen molecule, the calculated values of local mechanical properties have been found to carry the same order of magnitude along the longitudinal and transverse directions. It has been demonstrated that the values of global mechanical properties like compressibility, bulk modulus, etc. as well as local mechanical properties like linear compressibility, linear elastic modulus, etc. are functions of magnitudes of applied hydrostatic pressures. The mechanical characteristics of collagen molecule based on the atomistic model have also been compared with that of the continuum model in the present work. The comparison showed up orthotropic material behavior for the collagen molecule. The information on collagen molecule provided in the present study can be very helpful in designing the future bio-materials. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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