Volume 84, Number 2, October 2008
Article Number 26006
Number of page(s) 6
Section Condensed Matter: Structural, Mechanical and Thermal Properties
Published online 14 October 2008
EPL, 84 (2008) 26006
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/84/26006

The fate of a polymer nanoparticle subject to flow-induced shear stresses

G. A. Buxton

Department of Physics, Case Western Reserve University - Cleveland, OH 44106, USA

received 30 July 2008; accepted in final form 15 September 2008; published October 2008
published online 14 October 2008

Polymer nanoparticles are used for the targeted delivery of drugs, where their mechanical response to hydrodynamic flows can influence their performance. In this study, computer simulations elucidate the deformation of a polymer nanoparticle in a fluid under shear. It is found that hydrodynamic stresses can significantly deform polymer nanoparticles, with the particle becoming both stretched and squeezed (potentially expressing, or wringing out, an encapsulated fluid), and that the porous nature of polymer networks can allow fluid flow through the nanoparticle (potentially facilitating the release of an encapsulated drug). The use of computer simulations, therefore, which can capture the interactions between the mechanics of a polymer nanoparticle and the fluid dynamics of blood flow will play a significant role in developing and optimising polymer nanoparticle drug delivery systems.

62.25.-g - Mechanical properties of nanoscale systems.
83.80.Hj - Material type: Suspensions, dispersions, pastes, slurries, colloids.
87.10.Hk - Biological and medical physics: Lattice models.

© EPLA 2008