Liquid demixing in elastic networks: Cavitation, permeation, or size selection?

Pierre Ronceray, Sheng Mao, Andrej Košmrlj, Mikko P. Haataja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


In cells, phase-separated liquid condensates interact mechanically with surrounding elastic networks such as chromatin and cytoskeleton. By considering the trade-offs between elastic, wetting, and interfacial energies, we theoretically show that three droplet phases can be thermodynamically stable: macroscopic droplets that either cavitate or permeate the network, and mesh-size-limited microdroplets. We show that network strain stiffening further enhances this latter size-limitation effect. Our theory predicts the possibility of yet-unobserved droplet phases in the cytoplasm and nucleoplasm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number67001
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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