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MiS Preprint

Energy scaling of compressed elastic films - three-dimensional elasticity and reduced theories

Hafedh Ben Belgacem, Sergio Conti, Antonio DeSimone and Stefan Müller


We derive an optimal scaling law for the energy of thin elastic films under isotropic compression, starting from three-dimensional nonlinear elasticity. As a consequence we show that any deformation with optimal energy scaling must exhibit fine-scale oscillations along the boundary, which coarsen in the interior. This agrees with experimental observations of folds which refine as they approach the boundary.

We show that both for three-dimensional elasticity and for the geometrically nonlinear Föppl-von Kármán plate theory the energy of a compressed film scales quadratically in the film thickness. This is intermediate between the linear scaling of membrane theories which describe film stretching, and the cubic scaling of bending theories which describe unstretched plates, and indicates that the regime we are probing is characterized by the interplay of stretching and bending energies.

Blistering of compressed thin films has previously been analyzed using the Föppl-von Kármán theory of plates linearized in the in-plane displacements, or with the scalar eikonal functional where in-plane displacements are completely neglected. The predictions of the linearized plate theory agree with our result, but the scalar approximation yields a different scaling.


Related publications

2002 Repository Open Access
Hafedh BenBelgacem, Sergio Conti, Antonio DeSimone and Stefan Müller

Energy scaling of compressed elastic films : three-dimensional elasticity and reduced theories

In: Archive for rational mechanics and analysis, 164 (2002) 1, pp. 1-37