Energetic rigidity. I. A unifying theory of mechanical stability

Ojan Khatib Damavandi, Varda F. Hagh, Christian D. Santangelo, M. Lisa Manning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Rigidity regulates the integrity and function of many physical and biological systems. This is the first of two papers on the origin of rigidity, wherein we propose that "energetic rigidity,"in which all nontrivial deformations raise the energy of a structure, is a more useful notion of rigidity in practice than two more commonly used rigidity tests: Maxwell-Calladine constraint counting (first-order rigidity) and second-order rigidity. We find that constraint counting robustly predicts energetic rigidity only when the system has no states of self-stress. When the system has states of self-stress, we show that second-order rigidity can imply energetic rigidity in systems that are not considered rigid based on constraint counting, and is even more reliable than shear modulus. We also show that there may be systems for which neither first- nor second-order rigidity imply energetic rigidity. The formalism of energetic rigidity unifies our understanding of mechanical stability and also suggests new avenues for material design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number025003
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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