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Issue 29, 2016
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Programmable shape transformation of elastic spherical domes

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We investigate mismatch strain driven programmable shape transformation of spherical domes and report the effects of different geometric and structural characteristics on dome behavior in response to applied mismatch strain. We envision a bilayer dome design where the differential swelling of the inner layer with respect to the passive outer layer in response to changes in dome surroundings (such as the introduction of an organic solvent) introduces mismatch strain within the bilayer system and causes dome shape transformation. Finite element analysis reveals that, in addition to snap-through, spherical domes undergo bifurcation buckling and eventually gradual bending to morph into cylinders with increasing mismatch strain. Besides demonstrating how the snap-through energy barrier depends on the spherical dome shape, our analysis identifies three distinct groups of dome geometries based on their mismatch strain-transformed configuration relationships. Our experiments with polymer-based elastic bilayer domes that exhibit differential swelling in organic solvents qualitatively confirm the finite element predictions. We establish that, in addition to externally applied stimuli (mismatch strain), bilayer spherical dome morphing can be tuned and hence programmed through its geometry and structural characteristics. Incorporation of an elastic instability mechanism such as snap-through within the framework of stimuli-responsive functional devices can improve their response time which is otherwise controlled by diffusion. Hence, our proposed design guidelines can be used to realize deployable, multi-functional, reconfigurable, and therefore, adaptive structures responsive to a diverse set of stimuli across multiple length scales.

Graphical abstract: Programmable shape transformation of elastic spherical domes

  • This article is part of the themed collection: Polymers
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Publication details

The article was received on 01 Mar 2016, accepted on 24 Jun 2016 and first published on 30 Jun 2016

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C6SM00532B
Citation: Soft Matter, 2016,12, 6184-6195

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    Programmable shape transformation of elastic spherical domes

    A. M. Abdullah, P. V. Braun and K. J. Hsia, Soft Matter, 2016, 12, 6184
    DOI: 10.1039/C6SM00532B

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