The equilibria of vesicles adhered to substrates by short-ranged potentials

Maurice J. Blount*, Michael J. Miksis, Stephen H. Davis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


In equilibrium, a vesicle that is adhered to a horizontal substrate by a long-range attractive, short-range repulsive force traps a thin layer of fluid beneath it. In the asymptotic limit that this layer is very thin, there are quasi-two-dimensional boundary-layer structures near the edges of the vesicle, where the membrane's shape is governed by a balance between bending and adhesive stresses. These boundary layers are analysed to obtain corrections to simpler models that instead represent the adhesive interaction by a contact potential, thereby resolving apparent discontinuities that arise when such models are used. Composite expansions of the shapes of twodimensional vesicles are derived. When, in addition, the adhesive interaction is very strong, there is a nested boundary-layer structure for which the adhesive boundary layers match towards sharp corners where bending stresses remain important but adhesive stresses are negligible. Outside these corners, bending stresses are negligible and the vesicle's shape is given approximately by the arc of a circle. Simple composite expansions of the vesicle's shape are derived that account for the shape of the membrane inside these corners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20120729
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number2153
StatePublished - May 8 2013


  • Adhesion
  • Asymptotic analysis
  • Bending stresses
  • Vesicle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • General Mathematics


Dive into the research topics of 'The equilibria of vesicles adhered to substrates by short-ranged potentials'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this