Effective Elasticity of a Flexible Filament Bound to a Deformable Cylindrical Surface

A Saric and JC Pamies and A Cacciuto, PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS, 104, 226101 (2010).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.104.226101

We use numerical simulations to show how a fully flexible filament binding to a deformable cylindrical surface may acquire a macroscopic persistence length and a helical conformation. This is a result of the nontrivial elastic response to deformations of elastic sheets. We find that the filament's helical pitch is completely determined by the mechanical properties of the surface, and can be easily tuned by varying the surface stretching rigidity. We propose simple scaling arguments to understand the physical mechanism behind this phenomenon and present a phase diagram indicating under what conditions one should expect a fully flexible chain to behave as a helical semiflexible filament. Finally, we discuss the implications of our results.

Return to Publications page