Viscoelasticity & Plasticity, Visualized

Elasticity, viscosity, and plasticity are important material parameters. But what do they actually look like? And why should biologists care about these properties?

Below is an interactive exploration of the ways we mathematically describe viscoelasticity and plasticity. Please note that this demonstration is geared toward those who have studied college level mechanics of materials. The math could be quite difficult if you haven't taken it before!

Bingham Plastic + Standard Linear Solid (SLS) Model

We represent the different parameters of a material as a series of dashpots and springs:

  • The yield stress of a material is the stress at which a material will begin to deform plastically
  • The elastic nature of a material is represented by springs
  • The viscous nature of a material is represented by dashpots


Experiment with different material parameters by fiddling with the sliders below:



Check out the whole notebook on Observablehq.