Digital Instability of a Confined Elastic Meniscus
Biggins, John S.
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CitationBiggins, John S., Baudouin Saintyves, Zhiyan Wei, Elisabeth Bouchaud, and L. Mahadevan. 2013. Digital Instability of a Confined Elastic Meniscus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110, no. 31: 12545–12548.
AbstractThin soft elastic layers serving as joints between relatively rigid bodies may function as sealants, thermal, electrical, or mechanical insulators, bearings, or adhesives. When such a joint is stressed, even though perfect adhesion is maintained, the exposed free meniscus in the thin elastic layer becomes unstable, leading to the formation of spatially periodic digits of air that invade the elastic layer, reminiscent of viscous fingering in a thin fluid layer. However, the elastic instability is reversible and rate-independent, disappearing when the joint is unstressed. We use theory, experiments, and numerical simulations to show that the transition to the digital state is sudden (first-order), the wavelength and amplitude of the fingers are proportional to the thickness of the elastic layer, and the required separation to trigger the instability is inversely proportional to the in-plane dimension of the layer. Our study reveals the energetic origin of this instability and has implications for the strength of polymeric adhesives; it also suggests a method for patterning thin films reversibly with any arrangement of localized fingers in a digital elastic memory, which we confirm experimentally.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:12872194
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