Shearing active gels close to the isotropic-nematic transition

Phys Rev Lett. 2008 Aug 8;101(6):068102. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.101.068102. Epub 2008 Aug 8.


We study numerically the rheological properties of a slab of active gel close to the isotropic-nematic transition. The flow behavior shows a strong dependence on the sample size, boundary conditions, and on the bulk constitutive curve, which, on entering the nematic phase, acquires an activity-induced discontinuity at the origin. The precursor of this within the metastable isotropic phase for contractile systems (e.g., actomyosin gels) gives a viscosity divergence; its counterpart for extensile suspensions admits instead a shear-banded flow with zero apparent viscosity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Gels / chemistry*
  • Models, Chemical*
  • Nonlinear Dynamics
  • Rheology / methods
  • Viscosity


  • Gels