Bending and warpage of elastic plates

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Virginia Tech


This thesis presents two studies on elastic plates. In the first study, we discuss the choice of elastic energies for thin plates and shells, an unsettled issue with consequences for much recent modeling of soft matter. Through consideration of simple deformations of a thin body in the plane, we demonstrate that four bulk isotropic quadratic elastic theories have fundamentally different predictions with regard to bending behavior. At finite thickness, these qualitative effects persist near the limit of mid-surface isometry, and not all theories predict an isometric ground state. We discuss how certain kinematic measures that arose in early studies of rod mechanics lead to coherent definitions of stretching and bending, and promote the adoption of these quantities in the development of a covariant theory based on stretches rather than metrics.

In the second work, the effects of in-plane swelling gradients on thin, anisotropic plates are investigated. We study systems with a separation of scales between bending energy terms. Warped equilibrium shapes are described by two parameters controlling the spatial "rolling up'' and twisting of the surface. Shapes within this two-parameter space are explored, and it is shown that shapes will either be axisymmetric or twisted depending on swelling function parameters and material anisotropy. In some axisymmetric shapes, pitchfork bifurcations to twisted solutions are observed by varying these parameters. We also show that a familiar soft mode of the catenoid to helicoid transformation of an isotropic material no longer exists with material anisotropy.



Plate Theory, Bending, Swelling, Elastic Energy