Shear-flow-induced unfolding of polymeric globules

TitleShear-flow-induced unfolding of polymeric globules
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsAlexander-Katz, A, Schneider, MF, Schneider, SW, Wixforth, A, Netz, RR
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Date Published2006/09/29/

The behavior of a single collapsed polymer under shear flow is examined using hydrodynamic simulations and scaling arguments. Below a threshold shear rate gamma(*), the chain remains collapsed and only deforms slightly, while above gamma(*) the globule exhibits unfolding/refolding cycles. Hydrodynamics are crucial: In the free draining case, gamma(*) scales with the globule radius R as gamma(*)similar to R-1, while in the presence of hydrodynamic interactions gamma(*)similar to R. Experiments on the globular von Willebrand protein confirm the presence of an unfolding transition at a well-defined critical shear rate.