Swelling-Induced Deformations: A Materials-Defined Transition from Macroscale to Microscale Deformations

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The Royal Society of Chemistry


Swelling-induced deformations are common in many biological and industrial environments, and the shapes and patterns that emerge can vary across many length scales. Here we present an experimental study of a transition between macroscopic structural bending and microscopic surface creasing in elastomeric beams swollen non-homogeneously with favorable solvents. We show that this transition is dictated by the materials and geometry of the system, and we develop a simple scaling model based on competition between bending and swelling energies that predicts if a given solvent droplet would deform a polymeric structure macroscopically or microscopically. We demonstrate how proper tuning of materials and geometry can generate instabilities at multiple length scales in a single structure.



Swelling-induced deformations|elastoswelling


Pandey, A., & Holmes, D. P. (2013). Swelling-induced deformations: a materials-defined transition from macroscale to microscale deformations. Soft Matter, 9(23), 5524-5528. doi: 10.1039/C3SM00135K