Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Williams, Lakiesha N.

Committee Member

Prabhu, Rajkumar

Committee Member

Horstemeyer, Mark F.

Committee Member

Gwaltney, Steven

Committee Member

Stone, Tonya W.

Other Advisors or Committee Members

LaPlaca, Michelle C.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Biomedical Engineering

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering


The current study investigates the effect of strain state, strain rate, and membrane planar area on phospholipid bilayer mechanoporation and failure. Using molecular dynamics, a 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-phosphatidylcholine (POPC) bilayer was deformed biaxially to represent injury-induced neuronal membrane mechanoporation and failure. For all studies, water forming a bridge through both phospholipid bilayer leaflets was used as a failure metric. To examine the effect of strain state, 72 phospholipid structures were subjected to equibiaxial, 2:1 non-equibiaxial, 4:1 non-equibiaxial, strip biaxial, and uniaxial tensile deformations at the von Mises strain rate of 5.45 × 108 s-1. The stress magnitude, failure strain, headgroup clustering, and damage behavior were strain state dependent. The strain state order of detrimentality in descending order was equibiaxial, 2:1 non-equibiaxial, 4:1 non-equibiaxial, strip biaxial, and uniaxial with failure von Mises strains of 0.46, 0.47, 0.53, 0.77, and 1.67, respectively. Additionally, pore nucleation, growth, and failure were used to create a Membrane Failure Limit Diagram (MFLD) to demonstrate safe and unsafe membrane deformation regions. This MFLD allowed representative equations to be derived to predict membrane failure from in-plane strains. To examine the effect of strain rate, the equibiaxial and strip biaxial strain states were repeated at multiple strain rates. Additionally, a 144 phospholipid structure, which was twice the size of the 72 phospholipid structure in the x dimension, was subjected to strip biaxial tensile deformations to examine planar area effect. The applied strain rates, planar area, and cross-sectional area had no effect on the von Mises strains at which pores greater than 0.1 nm2 were detected (0.509 plus/minus 7.8%) or the von Mises strain at failure (0.68 plus/minus 4.8%). Additionally, changes in bilayer planar and cross-sectional areas did not affect the stress response. However, a strain rate increase from 1.4 × 108 to 6.8 × 108 s-1 resulted in a yield stress increase of 44.1 MPa and a yield strain increase of 0.17. Additionally, a stress and mechanoporation behavioral transition was determined to occur at a strain rate of ~1.4 × 108 s-1. These results provide the basis to implement a more accurate mechano-physiological internal state variable continuum model that captures lower-length scale damage.