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Magnetic field controlled behavior of magnetic gels studied using particle-based simulations

Rudolf Weeber, Patrick Kreissl and Christian Holm
From the journal Physical Sciences Reviews


This contribution provides an overview of the study of soft magnetic materials using particle-based simulation models. We focus in particular on systems where thermal fluctuations are important. As a basis for further discussion, we first describe two-dimensional models which demonstrate two deformation mechanisms of magnetic gels in a homogeneous field. One is based on the change of magnetic interactions between magnetic particles as a response to an external field; the other is the result of magnetically blocked particles acting as cross-linkers. Based on the qualitative behavior directly observable in the two-dimensional models, we extend our description to three-dimensions. We begin with particle-cross-linked gels, as for those, our three-dimensional model also includes explicitly resolved polymer chains. Here, the polymer chains are represented by entropic springs, and the deformation of the gel is the result of the interaction between magnetic particles. We use this model to examine the influence of the magnetic spatial configuration of magnetic particles (uniaxial or isotropic) on the gel’s magnetomechanical behavior. A further part of the article will be dedicated to scale-bridging approaches such as systematic coarse-graining and models located at the boundary between particle-based and continuum modeling. We will conclude our article with a discussion of recent results for modeling time-dependent phenomena in magnetic-polymer composites. The discussion will be focused on a simulation model suitable for obtaining AC-susceptibility spectra for dilute ferrofluids including hydrodynamic interactions. This model will be the basis for studying the signature of particle–polymer coupling in magnetic hybrid materials. In the long run, we aim to compare material properties probed locally via the AC-susceptibility spectra to elastic moduli obtained for the system at a global level.

Corresponding author: Rudolf Weeber, Institute for Computational Physics, University of Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany, E-mail:

Funding source: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft10.13039/501100001659

Award Identifier / Grant number: HO 1108/23

  1. Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

  2. Research funding: This research was financially supported by the German Research Foundation through the priority program SPP 1681 under grant HO 1108/23.

  3. Conflict of interest statement: The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding this article.


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