Correlated rigidity percolation and colloidal gels

Shang Zhang, Leyou Zhang, Mehdi Bouzid, D. Zeb Rocklin, Emanuela Del Gado, Xiaoming Mao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rigidity percolation (RP) occurs when mechanical stability emerges in disordered networks as constraints or components are added. Here we discuss RP with structural correlations, an effect ignored in classical theories albeit relevant to many liquid-to-amorphous-solid transitions, such as colloidal gelation, which are due to attractive interactions and aggregation. Using a lattice model, we show that structural correlations shift RP to lower volume fractions. Through molecular dynamics simulations, we show that increasing attraction in colloidal gelation increases structural correlation and thus lowers the RP transition, agreeing with experiments. Hence, the emergence of rigidity at colloidal gelation can be understood as a RP transition, but occurs at volume fractions far below values predicted by the classical RP, due to attractive interactions which induce structural correlation.

© 2019 American Physical Society
Original languageEnglish
Article number058001
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number5
Early online date30 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2 Aug 2019


  • cond-mat.soft


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