Spatially configuring wrinkle pattern and multiscale surface evolution with structural confinement

08 Feb 2018

© 2017 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim. Surface elastic instabilities, such as wrinkling and creasing, can enable a convenient strategy to impart reversible patterned topography to a surface. Here the classic system of a stiff layer on a soft substrate is focused, which famously produces parallel harmonic wrinkles at modest uniaxial compression that period-double repeatedly at higher compressions and ultimately evolve into deep folds and creases. By introducing micrometer-scale planar Bravais lattice holes to spatially pattern the substrate, these instabilities are guided into a wide variety of different patterns, including wrinkling in parallel bands and star shape bands, and radically reduce the threshold compression. The experimental patterns and thresholds are enabled to understand by considering a simple plane-strain model for the patterned substrate-deformation, decorated by wrinkling on the stiff surface layer. The experiments also show localized wrinkle-crease transitions at modest compression, yielding a hierarchical surface with different generations of instability mixed together. By varying the geometrical inputs, control over the stepwise evolution of surface morphologies is demonstrated. These results demonstrate considerable control over both the patterns and threshold of the surface elastic instabilities, and have relevance to many emerging applications of morphing surfaces, including in wearable/flexible electronics, biomedical systems, and optical devices.