Deformation of giant lipid bilayer vesicles in shear flow

K.H. de Haas, C. Blom, D. van den Ende, M.H.G. Duits, J. Mellema

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We describe experimental studies of the deformation of giant lipid bilayer vesicles in shear flow. The experiments are carried out with a counterrotating Couette apparatus. The deformation depends on the mechanical properties of the lipid bilayer, the vesicle radius, and the viscosity of the surrounding Newtonian liquid. We show that the relevant mechanical parameter is the bending rigidity. A simple model has been developed that describes the deformation of a vesicle. This model takes thermal undulations of the bilayer into account. We have obtained a value for the bending rigidity of dimyristoyl-phosphatidylcholine bilayers and its value has been compared with literature data and with results from micropipette aspiration experiments. From the measurements we are able to discriminate between unilamellar and multilamellar vesicles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7132-7137
Number of pages6
JournalPhysical review E: Statistical physics, plasmas, fluids, and related interdisciplinary topics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • METIS-129203
  • IR-73491


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