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A porous viscoelastic model for the cell cytoskeleton


The immersed boundary method is a widely used mixed Eulerian/Lagrangian framework for simulating the motion of elastic structures immersed in viscous fluids. In this work, we consider a poroelastic immersed boundary method in which a fluid permeates a porous, elastic structure of negligible volume fraction, and extend this method to include stress relaxation of the material. The porous viscoelastic method presented here is validated for a prescribed oscillatory shear and for an expansion driven by the motion at the boundary of a circular material by comparing numerical solutions to an analytical solution of the Maxwell model for viscoelasticity. Finally, an application of the modelling framework to cell biology is provided: passage of a cell through a microfluidic channel. We demonstrate that the rheology of the cell cytoplasm is important for capturing the transit time through a narrow channel in the presence of a pressure drop in the extracellular fluid.

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