Artificial blood clotting, induced under controlled experimental conditions and simulations, is reported in Nature Communications this week. The work could ultimately enable a simple and rapid alternative to existing methods for creating polymer-colloid aggregations - the plug that form naturally in order to stop blood flowing.
The formation of (bio)polymer - colloid composite plugs is believed to be driven by shear flow - the gradient by which fluid is forced through the body - and, contrary to intuition, its assembly is enhanced under stronger flowing conditions. Inspired by blood clotting, Alfredo Alexander-Katz and colleagues simulated and measured flow-driven self-assembly of biopolymers and platelet colloids in presence of shear flow and find that the composite morphology is tunable or even reversible as determined by the flow rate. The authors suggest that the work might be used to design and synthesize novel polymer - colloid composites with controlled mechanical and chemical properties.