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R. Huang Group Research

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A kinetics approach to surface wrinkling of elastic films

This chapter summarizes our works on surface wrinkling of elastic thin films, taking a kinetics approach as a physical pathway to both ordered and disordered wrinkle patterns.

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Effects of mismatch strain and substrate surface corrugation on morphology of supported monolayer graphene

In a previous work, substrate-modulated morphology of graphene was analyzed using a numerical Monte Carlo method. Here we present an analytical approach that explicitly relates the van der Waals interaction energy to the surface corrugation and the interfacial properties. Moreover, the effect of mismatch strain is considered, which predicts a strain-induced instability under a compressive strain and reduced corrugation under a tensile strain.

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Swell induced surface instability of confined hydrogel layers

A previous work suggested a critical condition to form surface creases in elastomers and gels. For elastomers, the critical condition seems to have closed a gap between experimental observations (e.g., by bending a rubber block) and the classical instability analysis by Biot. For gels, however, experiments have observed a wide range of critical swelling ratios, from around 2 to 3.7. Here we present a linear perturbation analysis for swollen hydrogels confined on a rigid substrate, which predicts critical swelling ratios in a similar range.

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Excess energy and deformation along free edges of graphene nanoribbons

Q. Lu and R. Huang, Excess energy and deformation along free edges of graphene nanoribbons. Posted online at arXiv:0910.0912, October 2009.

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Effect of constraint on swelling of hydrogels and formation of surface creases

Inspired by recent works by Wei Hong , Xuanhe Zhao, Zhigang Suo, and their coworkers, we started a project on hydrogels, with particular interest in various instability patterns observed in experiments. The attachment is our first manuscript on this subject. Through this work we hope to achieve the following:

Nonlinear mechanics of single-atomic-layer graphene sheets

Qiang Lu and Rui Huang

Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering mechanics, University of Texas, Austin,
TX 78712, USA

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Influence of Interfacial Delamination on Channel Cracking of Brittle Thin Films


H. Mei, Y. Pang, and R. Huang, International Journal of Fracture 148, 331-342 (2007).

Following a previous effort published in MRS Proceedings, we wrote a journal article of the same title, with more numerical results. While the main conclusions stay the same, a few subtle points are noted in this paper.

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Thin films: wrinkling vs buckle-delamination

H. Mei, J.Y. Chung, H.-H. Yu, C.M. Stafford, and R. Huang, Buckling modes of elastic thin films on elastic substrates. Applied Physics Letters 90, 151902 (2007).

Two modes of thin film buckling are commonly observed, one with interface delamination (e.g., telephone cord blisters) and the other with no delamination (i.e., wrinkling). Which one would occur for your film?

Dynamics of wrinkle growth and coarsening in stressed thin films

Rui Huang and Se Hyuk Im, Physical Review E 74, 026214 (2006).

A stressed thin film on a soft substrate can develop complex wrinkle patterns. The onset of wrinkling and initial growth is well described by a linear perturbation analysis, and the equilibrium wrinkles can be analyzed using an energy approach. In between, the wrinkle pattern undergoes a coarsening process with a peculiar dynamics. By using a proper scaling and two-dimensional numerical simulations, this paper develops a quantitative understanding of the wrinkling dynamics from initial growth through coarsening till equilibrium. It is found that, during the initial growth, a stress-dependent wavelength is selected and the wrinkle amplitude grows exponentially over time. During coarsening, both the wrinkle wavelength and amplitude increases, following a simple scaling law under uniaxial compression. Slightly different dynamics is observed under equi-biaxial stresses, which starts with a faster coarsening rate before asymptotically approaching the same scaling under uniaxial stresses. At equilibrium, a parallel stripe pattern is obtained under uniaxial stresses and a labyrinth pattern under equi-biaxial stresses. Both have the same wavelength, independent of the initial stress. On the other hand, the wrinkle amplitude depends on the initial stress state, which is higher under an equi-biaxial stress than that under a uniaxial stress of the same magnitude.

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Surface effects on thin film wrinkling

A recent discussion here about the effect of surface stress on vibrations of microcantilever has gained some interest from our members. A few years ago, Zhigang and I looked at surface effect on buckling of a thin elastic film on a viscous layer (Huang and Suo, Thin Solid Films 429, 273-281, 2003). Although the physical phenomena (buckling vs vibrations) are different, the conclusion is quite consistent with Wei Hong and Pradeep's comments toward the end of the discussion. That is, surface stress only contributes as a residual stress and thus does not affect the buckling wavelength (frequency in space in analogy to frequency in time for vibrations).

Yaoyu Pang's picture

Nonlinear effect of stress and wetting on surface evolution of epitaxial thin films

Y. Pang and R. Huang, Physical Review B 74, 075413 (2006).

An epitaxial thin film can undergo surface instability and break up into discrete islands. The stress field and the interface interaction have profound effects on the dynamics of surface evolution. In this work, we develop a nonlinear evolution equation with a second-order approximation for the stress field and a nonlinear wetting potential for the interface. The equation is solved numerically in both two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) configurations using a spectral method. The effects of stress and wetting are examined. It is found that the nonlinear stress field alone induces "blow-up" instability, leading to crack-like grooving in 2D and circular pit-like morphology in 3D. For thin films, the blow-up is suppressed by the wetting effect, leading to a thin wetting layer and an array of discrete islands. The dynamics of island formation and coarsening over a large area is well captured by the interplay of the nonlinear stress field and the wetting effect.

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