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Geometry and Physics of Wrinkling

E. Cerda and L. Mahadevan
Phys. Rev. Lett. 90, 074302 – Published 19 February 2003
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The wrinkling of thin elastic sheets occurs over a range of length scales, from the fine scale patterns in substrates on which cells crawl to the coarse wrinkles seen in clothes. Motivated by the wrinkling of a stretched elastic sheet, we deduce a general theory of wrinkling, valid far from the onset of the instability, using elementary geometry and the physics of bending and stretching. Our main result is a set of simple scaling laws; the wavelength of the wrinkles λK1/4, where K is the stiffness due to an “elastic substrate” effect with a multitude of origins, and the amplitude of the wrinkle Aλ. These could form the basis of a highly sensitive quantitative wrinkling assay for the mechanical characterization of thin solid membranes.

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  • Received 25 June 2002


©2003 American Physical Society


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New Wrinkle On Fighting Crow’s Feet

Published 20 February 2003

A new theory predicts the structure of wrinkles in thin sheets of any material and may offer ways of eliminating them.

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Authors & Affiliations

E. Cerda1,2 and L. Mahadevan1,*

  • 1Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge, Silver Street, Cambridge CB3 9EW, United Kingdom
  • 2Departamento de Física, Universidad de Santiago de Chile, Avenida Ecuador 3493, Casilla 307, Correo 2, Santiago, Chile

  • *Electronic address: l.mahadevan@damtp.cam.ac.uk

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Vol. 90, Iss. 7 — 21 February 2003

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