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New article on wrinkling

Curvature-induced symmetry breaking determines elastic surface patterns

Symmetry-breaking transitions associated with the buckling and folding of curved multilayered surfaces—which are common to a wide range of systems and processes such as embryogenesis, tissue differentiation and structure formation in heterogeneous thin films or on planetary surfaces—have been characterized experimentally. Yet owing to the nonlinearity of the underlying stretching and bending forces, the transitions cannot be reliably predicted by current theoretical models. Here, we report a generalized Swift–Hohenberg theory that describes wrinkling morphology and pattern selection in curved elastic bilayer materials. By testing the theory against experiments on spherically shaped surfaces, we find quantitative agreement with analytical predictions for the critical curves separating labyrinth, hybrid and hexagonal phases. Furthermore, a comparison to earlier experiments suggests that the theory is universally applicable to macroscopic and microscopic systems. Our approach builds on general differential-geometry principles and can thus be extended to arbitrarily shaped surfaces.

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