Publication Results

Code: 61/2014
Title: Elasto-capillarity controls the formation and the morphology of beads-on-string structures in solid fibres
Date: Tuesday 16th December 2014
Author(s) : Taffetani, M.; Ciarletta, P.
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Abstract: Beads-on-string patterns have been experimentally observed in solid cylinders for a wide range of material properties and structural lengths, from millimetric soft gels to nanometric hard fibres. In this work, we combine theoretical analysis and numerical tools to investigate the formation and the nonlinear dynamics of such beaded structures. We show that this morphological transition is driven by elasto-capillarity, i.e. a complex interplay between the effects of surface tension and bulk elasticity. Unlike buckling or wrinkling, the presence of an axial elongation is found here to favour the onset of fibre beading, in agreement with existing experimental results on electrospun fibres, hydrogels and nerves. Our results also prove that the applied stretch can be used in fabrication techniques to control the morphology of the emerging beads-on-string patterns. Such quantitative predictions open the way to several applications, from tissue engineering to the design of stretchable electronics and the micro-fabrication of functionalized surfaces.

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Physical Review E