Deformation and fracture of echinoderm collagen networks

Markus Ovaska, Zsolt Bertalan, Amandine Miksic, Michela Sugni, Cristiano Di Benedetto, Cinzia Ferrario, Livio Leggio, Luca Guidetti, Mikko J. Alava, Caterina A M La Porta*, Stefano Zapperi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
158 Downloads (Pure)


Collagen networks provide the main structural component of most tissues and represent an important ingredient for bio-mimetic materials for bio-medical applications. Here we study the mechanical properties of stiff collagen networks derived from three different echinoderms and show that they exhibit non-linear stiffening followed by brittle fracture. The disordered nature of the network leads to strong sample-to-sample fluctuations in elasticity and fracture strength. We perform numerical simulations of a three dimensional model for the deformation of a cross-linked elastic fibril network which is able to reproduce the macroscopic features of the experimental results and provide insights into the internal mechanics of stiff collagen networks. Our numerical model provides an avenue for the design of collagen membranes with tunable mechanical properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-52
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Collagen networks
  • Computational model
  • Echinoderms
  • Elasticity
  • Fracture


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