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Ripple patterns spontaneously emerge through sequential wrinkling interference in polymer bilayers

  • Pellegrino, L
  • Tan, A
  • Cabral, JT
Publication Date
Jan 10, 2022
Spiral - Imperial College Digital Repository


We report the formation of “ripple” patterns by the sequential superposition of nonorthogonal surface waves excited by the spontaneous buckling of polymeric bilayers. Albeit of a different nature and micron scale compared to the familiar sedimentary ripples caused by gentle wave oscillations, we find commonalities in their topography, defects, and bifurcations. The patterns are rationalized in terms of a defect density that depends on the relative angle between generations, and a constant in-plane bending angle that depends on skin thickness. A minimal wave summation model enables the design of ripple and checkerboard surfaces by tuning material properties and fabrication process.

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