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Issue 35, 2016
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Structural mechanics and helical geometry of thin elastic composites

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Abstract

Helices are ubiquitous in nature, and helical shape transition is often observed in residually stressed bodies, such as composites, wherein materials with different mechanical properties are glued firmly together to form a whole body. Inspired by a variety of biological examples, the basic physical mechanism responsible for the emergence of twisting and bending in such thin composite structures has been extensively studied. Here, we propose a simplified analytical model wherein a slender membrane tube undergoes a helical transition driven by the contraction of an elastic ribbon bound to the membrane surface. We analytically predict the curvature and twist of an emergent helix as functions of differential strains and elastic moduli, which are confirmed by our numerical simulations. Our results may help understand shapes observed in different biological systems, such as spiral bacteria, and could be applied to novel designs of soft machines and robots.

Graphical abstract: Structural mechanics and helical geometry of thin elastic composites

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Publication details

The article was received on 10 May 2016, accepted on 01 Aug 2016 and first published on 01 Aug 2016


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C6SM01090C
Citation: Soft Matter, 2016,12, 7386-7397
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    Structural mechanics and helical geometry of thin elastic composites

    H. Wada, Soft Matter, 2016, 12, 7386
    DOI: 10.1039/C6SM01090C

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