Mechanics tuning of liquid inclusions via bio-coating

Xin Chen, Moxiao Li, Shaobao Liu, Wei He, Fei Ti, Yuqing Dong, Guy M. Genin, Feng Xu, Tian Jian Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Liquid-like inclusions arising in biomaterials and tissues often have coatings with material properties that differ from those of both the inclusion and the surrounding matrix. Understanding how these coatings interact with the inclusion and the surrounding matrix is critical to understanding tissue function and to developing a class of biomimetic materials. We therefore developed a closed-form mathematical solution to characterize how the properties of a coating surrounding a spherical liquid-like inclusion affect the volumetric strain it experiences when the surrounding matrix is loaded uniaxially. Results show that the coating can amplify or attenuate the volumetric strain within the liquid inclusion, depending upon the relative properties of the inclusion, coating, and matrix. We used the solution to study amplification and attenuation of mechanical fields in healthy and diseased tissues, and found that pathological remodeling of coatings can have a tremendous impact on the mechanical fields experienced by living cells. Results suggest important roles for coatings surrounding living cells in tuning the mechanobiology cues transmitted to cells when the tissues that host them are loaded mechanically.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101049
JournalExtreme Mechanics Letters
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • Cell mechanics
  • Inclusion theory
  • Liquid inclusion
  • Stiffness gradient


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