Coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations of shear-induced instabilities of lipid bilayer membranes in water

Hanasaki I., Walther J.H., Kawano S., Koumoutsakos P., Physical Review E., 82, 051602-1 - 051602-6, 2010


We study shear-induced instabilities of lipid bilayers immersed in water using coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations. The shear imposed by the flow of the water induces initially microscopic structural changes of the membrane, starting with tilting of the molecules in the direction of the shear. The tilting propagates in the spanwise direction when the shear rate exceeds a critical value and the membrane undergoes a bucklinglike deformation in the direction perpendicular to the shear. The bucklinglike undulation continues until a localized Kelvin-Helmholtz-like instability leads to membrane rupture. We study the different modes of membrane undulation using membranes of different geometries and quantify the relative importance of the bucklinglike bending and the Kelvin-Helmholtz-like instability of the membrane.