Buckling of an elastic rod embedded on an elastomeric matrix: planar vs. non-planar configurations†
We investigate the buckling of a slender rod embedded in a soft elastomeric matrix through a combination of experiments, numerics and theory. Depending on the control parameters, both planar wavy (2D) or non-planar coiled (3D) configurations are observed in the post-buckling regime. Our analytical and numerical results indicate that the rod buckles into 2D configurations when the compression forces associated to the two lowest critical modes are well separated. In contrast, 3D coiled configurations occur when the two buckling modes are triggered at onset, nearly simultaneously. We show that the separation between these two lowest critical forces can be controlled by tuning the ratio between the stiffness of the matrix and the bending stiffness of the rod, thereby allowing for specific buckling configurations to be target by design.