Faculty Advisor

Iannacchione, Germano S.


We have created a computer force simulation of a fractal collection of mass-springs in order to explore the microelasticity of an unbroken random gel. This work is motivated by the recent interest in the elastic properties of thixotropic gels formed by the silica particles of Aerosils. The focus is primarily on the effective spring constant, k, of the simulated Aerosil gel as a function of length-scale and particle density. This effective spring constant is determined by the proper summation of the individual spring constants that have been assigned to the simulated mass-spring fractal network. For large numbers of particles, k scales simply as the average of the individual spring constants. For moderate number of particles above the percolation threshold, the simulated behavior of k with respect to length-scale and particle density will be presented and the possibility of an observed rigidity transition will be discussed.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

January 2002


Mathematical Sciences

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project


Restricted-WPI community only

Advisor Department