A biofilm material model and a procedure for numerical integration are developed in this article. They enable calculation of a composite Young's modulus that varies in the biofilm and evolves with deformation. The biofilm-material model makes it possible to introduce a modeling example, produced by the Unified Multi-Component Cellular Automaton model, into the general-purpose finite-element code ABAQUS. Compressive, tensile, and shear loads are imposed, and the way the biofilm mechanical properties evolve is assessed. Results show that the local values of Young's modulus increase under compressive loading, since compression results in the voids "closing," thus making the material stiffer. For the opposite reason, biofilm stiffness decreases when tensile loads are imposed. Furthermore, the biofilm is more compliant in shear than in compression or tension due to the how the elastic shear modulus relates to Young's modulus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-15
Number of pages5
JournalMathematical Biosciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Biofilm mechanical properties
  • Biofilm modeling
  • Composite Young's modulus
  • Consolidation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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