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3D confocal microscopic image of fluorescently labelled F-actin filaments

Entangled polymers
In biological cells, which contain biopolymer filaments, active flow due to molecular motor proteins can be observed. Since biopolymer filaments are neither fully flexible nor fully rigid like a rod, they are customarily called ‘semiflexible’ polymers. The viscosity of solutions of semiflexible polymers decreases dramatically at high shear rates. The effect is called ‘shear-thinning’. The filaments have an irregular configuration and are intricately entwined with each other while at rest, but that they form hairpin-like structures and detach themselves completely from one another when in flow. They can then freely slide over each other, which causes the dramatic shear-thinning of semiflexible polymer solutions.

Soft Condensed Matter:
I. Kirchenbüchler, D. Guu, and M.P. Lettinga

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