Propagation of tension along a polymer chain

Payam Rowghanian, Alexander Y. Grosberg

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We study the propagation of tension caused by an external force along a long polymeric molecule in two different settings, namely along a free polymer in three-dimensional (3D) space being pulled from one end, and along a prestretched circular polymer, confined in a narrow circular tube. We show that in both cases, the tension propagation is governed by a diffusion equation, and in particular, the tension front propagates as t1 /2 along the contour of the chain. The results are confirmed numerically, and by molecular dynamics simulations in the case of the 3D polymer. We also compare our results with the previously suggested ones for the translocation setting, and discuss why tension propagation is slower in that case.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number011803
    JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Jul 26 2012

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
    • Statistics and Probability
    • Condensed Matter Physics


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