Evolution of critical buckling conditions in imperfect bilayer shells through residual swelling
We propose and investigate a minimal mechanism that makes use of differential swelling to modify the critical buckling conditions of elastic bilayer shells, as measured by the knockdown factor. Our shells contain an engineered defect at the north pole and are made of two layers of different crosslinked polymers that exchange free molecular chains. Depending on the size of the defect and the extent of swelling, we can observe either a decreasing or increasing knockdown factor. FEM simulations are performed using a reduced model for the swelling process to aid us in rationalizing the underlying mechanism, providing a qualitative agreement with experiments. We believe that the working principle of our mechanism can be extended to bimetallic shells undergoing variations in temperature and to shells made of pH-responsive gels, where the change in knockdown factor could be changed dynamically.