Failure of viral shells

W. S. Klug, R. F. Bruinsma, J. P. Michel, C. M. Knobler, I.L. Ivanovska, C. Schmidt, G.J.L. Wuite

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We report a combined theoretical and experimental study of the structural failure of viral shells under mechanical stress. We find that discontinuities in the force-indentation curve associated with failure should appear when the so-called Föpplâ€"von Kármán (FvK) number exceeds a critical value. A nanoindentation study of a viral shell subject to a soft-mode instability, where the stiffness of the shell decreases with increasing pH, confirms the predicted onset of failure as a function of the FvK number. © 2006 The American Physical Society.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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Failure of viral shells


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