Modeling the behavior of inclusions in circular plates undergoing shape changes from two to three dimensions

Oz Oshri, Santidan Biswas, Anna C. Balazs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Growth of biological tissues and shape changes of thin synthetic sheets are commonly induced by stimulation of isolated regions (inclusions) in the system. These inclusions apply internal forces on their surroundings that, in turn, promote 2D layers to acquire complex 3D configurations. We focus on a fundamental building block of these systems, and consider a circular plate that contains an inclusion with dilative strains. Based on the Föppl-von Kármán (FvK) theory, we derive an analytical model that predicts the 2D-to-3D shape transitions in the system. Our findings are summarized in a phase diagram that reveals two distinct configurations in the post-buckling region. One is an extensive profile that holds close to the threshold of the instability, and the second is a localized profile, which preempts the extensive solution beyond the buckling threshold. While the former solution is derived as a perturbation around the flat configuration, assuming infinitesimal amplitudes, the latter solution is derived around a buckled state that is highly localized. We show that up to vanishingly small corrections that scale with the thickness, this localized configuration is equivalent to that expected for ultra-thin sheets, which completely relax compressive stresses. Our findings agree quantitatively with direct numerical minimization of the FvK energy. Furthermore, we extend the theory to describe shape transitions in polymeric gels, and compare the results with numerical simulations that account for the complete elastodynamic behavior of the gels. The agreement between the theory and these simulations indicates that our results are observable experimentally. Notably, our findings can provide guidelines to the analysis of more complicated systems that encompass interaction between several buckled inclusions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number043001
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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