A note on stress-driven anisotropic diffusion and its role in active deformable media

Christian Cherubini, Simonetta Filippi, Alessio Gizzi, Ricardo Ruiz-Baier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


We introduce a new model to describe diffusion processes within active deformable media. Our general theoretical framework is based on physical and mathematical considerations, and it suggests to employ diffusion tensors directly influenced by the coupling with mechanical stress. The proposed generalised reaction-diffusion-mechanics model reveals that initially isotropic and homogeneous diffusion tensors turn into inhomogeneous and anisotropic quantities due to the intrinsic structure of the nonlinear coupling. We study the physical properties leading to these effects, and investigate mathematical conditions for its occurrence. Together, the mathematical model and the numerical results obtained using a mixed-primal finite element method, clearly support relevant consequences of stress-driven diffusion into anisotropy patterns, drifting, and conduction velocity of the resulting excitation waves. Our findings also indicate the applicability of this novel approach in the description of mechano-electric feedback in actively deforming bio-materials such as the cardiac tissue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-228
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Active deformable media
  • Cardiac dynamics
  • Electro-Mechanics
  • Finite elasticity
  • Reaction-Diffusion
  • Stress-assisted diffusion

Cite this