Biomembrane modeling with Isogeometric Analysis


Biomembrane modeling with Isogeometric Analysis
Friday 14th April 2017
Bartezzaghi, A.; Dede', L.; Quarteroni, A.
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We consider the numerical approximation of lipid biomembranes, including red blood cells, described through the Canham{Helfrich model, according to which the shape minimizes the bending energy under area and volume constraints. Energy minimization is performed via L2-gradient flow of the Canham-Helfrich energy using two Lagrange multipliers to weakly enforce the constraints. This yields a highly nonlinear, high order, time dependent geometric Partial Differential Equation (PDE). We represent the biomembranes as single-patch NURBS closed surfaces. We discretize the geometric PDEs in space with NURBS-based Isogeometric Analysis and in time with Backward Differentiation Formulas. We tackle the nonlinearity in our formulation through a semi-implicit approach by extrapolating, at each time level, the geometric quantities of interest from previous time steps. We report the numerical results of the approximation of the Canham-Helfrich problem on ellipsoids of different aspect ratio, which lead to the classical biconcave shape of lipid vesicles at equilibrium. We show that this framework permits an accurate approximation of the Canham-Helfrich problem, while being computationally efficient.