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Creep, fracture and wrinkling of protein gels

Sébastien Manneville Laboratoire de Physique, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon

Biomaterials such as protein or polysaccharide gels are known to behave qualitatively as soft solids and to rupture under an external load. Combining optical and ultrasonic imaging to shear rheology I will first show that the behaviour of a protein gel under creep is reminiscent of brittle failure : after a power-law creep regime, fractures nucleate and grow logarithmically perpendicularly to shear up to sudden rupture. In a second part I will show that a layer of protein gel confined between two non-adhering walls spontaneously wrinkles upon swelling. The wavelength of the resulting pattern can be predicted by a model mixing Darcy flow through the porous gel matrix and Poiseuille flow in the surrounding fluid.