Fringe instability in constrained soft elastic layers.
ABSTRACT: Soft elastic layers with top and bottom surfaces adhered to rigid bodies are abundant in biological organisms and engineering applications. As the rigid bodies are pulled apart, the stressed layer can exhibit various modes of mechanical instabilities. In cases where the layer's thickness is much smaller than its length and width, the dominant modes that have been studied are the cavitation, interfacial and fingering instabilities. Here we report a new mode of instability which emerges if the thickness of the constrained elastic layer is comparable to or smaller than its width. In this case, the middle portion along the layer's thickness elongates nearly uniformly while the constrained fringe portions of the layer deform nonuniformly. When the applied stretch reaches a critical value, the exposed free surfaces of the fringe portions begin to undulate periodically without debonding from the rigid bodies, giving the fringe instability. We use experiments, theory and numerical simulations to quantitatively explain the fringe instability and derive scaling laws for its critical stress, critical strain and wavelength. We show that in a force controlled setting the elastic fingering instability is associated with a snap-through buckling that does not exist for the fringe instability. The discovery of the fringe instability will not only advance the understanding of mechanical instabilities in soft materials but also have implications for biological and engineered adhesives and joints.
Project description:Thin soft elastic layers serving as joints between relatively rigid bodies may function as sealants, thermal, electrical, or mechanical insulators, bearings, or adhesives. When such a joint is stressed, even though perfect adhesion is maintained, the exposed free meniscus in the thin elastic layer becomes unstable, leading to the formation of spatially periodic digits of air that invade the elastic layer, reminiscent of viscous fingering in a thin fluid layer. However, the elastic instability is reversible and rate-independent, disappearing when the joint is unstressed. We use theory, experiments, and numerical simulations to show that the transition to the digital state is sudden (first-order), the wavelength and amplitude of the fingers are proportional to the thickness of the elastic layer, and the required separation to trigger the instability is inversely proportional to the in-plane dimension of the layer. Our study reveals the energetic origin of this instability and has implications for the strength of polymeric adhesives; it also suggests a method for patterning thin films reversibly with any arrangement of localized fingers in a digital elastic memory, which we confirm experimentally.
Project description:Finger-like protrusions that form along fluid-fluid displacement fronts in porous media are often excited by hydrodynamic instability when low-viscosity fluids displace high-viscosity resident fluids. Such interfacial instabilities are undesirable in many natural and engineered displacement processes. We report a phenomenon whereby gradual and monotonic variation of pore sizes along the front path suppresses viscous fingering during immiscible displacement, that seemingly contradicts conventional expectation of enhanced instability with pore size variability. Experiments and pore-scale numerical simulations were combined with an analytical model for the characteristics of displacement front morphology as a function of the pore size gradient. Our results suggest that the gradual reduction of pore sizes act to restrain viscous fingering for a predictable range of flow conditions (as anticipated by gradient percolation theory). The study provides insights into ways for suppressing unwanted interfacial instabilities in porous media, and provides design principles for new engineered porous media such as exchange columns, fabric, paper, and membranes with respect to their desired immiscible displacement behavior.
Project description:We investigate purely elastic flow instabilities in the almost ideal planar stagnation point elongational flow field generated by a microfluidic optimized-shape cross-slot extensional rheometer (OSCER). We use time-resolved flow velocimetry and full-field birefringence microscopy to study the behavior of a series of well-characterized viscoelastic polymer solutions under conditions of low fluid inertia and over a wide range of imposed deformation rates. At low deformation rates the flow is steady and symmetric and appears Newtonian-like, while at high deformation rates we observe the onset of a flow asymmetry resembling the purely elastic instabilities reported in standard-shaped cross-slot devices. However, for intermediate rates, we observe a new type of elastic instability characterized by a lateral displacement and time-dependent motion of the stagnation point. At the onset of this new instability, we evaluate a well-known dimensionless criterion M that predicts the onset of elastic instabilities based on geometric and rheological scaling parameters. The criterion yields maximum values of M which compare well with critical values of M for the onset of elastic instabilities in viscometric torsional flows. We conclude that the same mechanism of tension acting along curved streamlines governs the onset of elastic instabilities in both extensional (irrotational) and torsional (rotational) viscoelastic flows.
Project description:Viscous fingering is a widely observed phenomenon, in which finger-like instabilities occur at the interface of two fluids, whenever a less viscous phase displaces a more viscous phase. This instability is notoriously difficult to control, especially for given viscosity ratio and geometry. Here we demonstrate experimentally the active control of viscous fingering of two given liquids, for given geometry and flow rate in a Hele-Shaw cell. The control is realized by taking advantage of electro-osmotic flows along the surfaces confining the fluid, via applying an external electric field. Depending on the direction of electric field, the induced secondary electro-osmotic flows either assist or oppose the hydraulic flow, effectively reducing or increasing the flow resistance, leading to the control of interface stability. The mechanism of apparent "electrokinetic thinning/thickening" is proposed to explain the experimental observations. Theoretical predictions of linear stability are confirmed experimentally for a broad range of immiscible electrolyte displacements.
Project description:A simple, scalable, non-lithographic, technique for fabricating durable superhydrophobic (SH) surfaces, based on the fingering instabilities associated with non-Newtonian flow and shear tearing, has been developed. The high viscosity of the nanotube/elastomer paste has been exploited for the fabrication. The fabricated SH surfaces had the appearance of bristled shark skin and were robust with respect to mechanical forces. While flow instability is regarded as adverse to roll-coating processes for fabricating uniform films, we especially use the effect to create the SH surface. Along with their durability and self-cleaning capabilities, we have demonstrated drag reduction effects of the fabricated films through dynamic flow measurements.
Project description:We determine both experimentally and numerically the onset of elastic flow instabilities in viscoelastic polymer solutions with different levels of shear thinning. Previous experiments realized in microfluidic serpentine channels using dilute polymeric solutions showed that the onset of elastic instabilities strongly depends on the channel curvature. The scaling dependence is well captured by the general instability scaling criterion proposed by Pakdel and McKinley [Phys. Rev. Lett., 1996, 76, 2459:1-4]. We determine here the influence of fluid shear thinning on the onset of such purely-elastic flow instabilities. By testing a set of polyethylene oxide solutions of high molecular weight at different polymer concentrations in microfluidic serpentine channels we observe that shear thinning has a stabilizing effect on the microfluidic flow. Three-dimensional numerical simulations performed using the White-Metzner model predict similar trends, which are not captured by a simple scaling analysis using the Pakdel-McKinley criterion.
Project description:Polymer encapsulation of drugs is conventionally used as a strategy for controlled delivery and enhanced stability. In this work, a novel encapsulation approach is demonstrated, in which the organic molecule clotrimazole is enclosed into wrinkles of defined sizes. Having defined wrinkles at the drug/encapsulant interface, the contact between the encapsulating polymer and the drug can be improved. In addition, this can also allow for some control on the drug delivery as the available surface area changes with the wrinkle size. For this purpose, thin films of clotrimazole were deposited onto silica substrates and were then encapsulated by crosslinked poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (pHEMA) via initiated chemical vapor deposition (iCVD). The thickness and the solid state (crystalline or amorphous) of the clotrimazole layer were varied so that the conditions under which surface wrinkles emerge can be determined. A (critical) clotrimazole thickness of 76.6 nm was found necessary to induce wrinkles, whereby the wrinkle size is directly proportional to the thickness of the amorphous clotrimazole. When the pHEMA was deposited on top of crystalline clotrimazole instead, wrinkling was absent. The wrinkling effect can be understood in terms of elastic mismatch between the relatively rigid pHEMA film and the drug layer. In the case of amorphous clotrimazole, the relatively soft drug layer causes a large mismatch resulting in a sufficient driving force for wrinkle formation. Instead, the increased elastic modulus of crystalline clotrimazole reduces the elastic mismatch between drug and polymer, so that wrinkles do not form.
Project description:The morphological dynamics, instabilities, and transitions of elastic filaments in viscous flows underlie a wealth of biophysical processes from flagellar propulsion to intracellular streaming and are also key to deciphering the rheological behavior of many complex fluids and soft materials. Here, we combine experiments and computational modeling to elucidate the dynamical regimes and morphological transitions of elastic Brownian filaments in a simple shear flow. Actin filaments are used as an experimental model system and their conformations are investigated through fluorescence microscopy in microfluidic channels. Simulations matching the experimental conditions are also performed using inextensible Euler-Bernoulli beam theory and nonlocal slender-body hydrodynamics in the presence of thermal fluctuations and agree quantitatively with observations. We demonstrate that filament dynamics in this system are primarily governed by a dimensionless elasto-viscous number comparing viscous drag forces to elastic bending forces, with thermal fluctuations playing only a secondary role. While short and rigid filaments perform quasi-periodic tumbling motions, a buckling instability arises above a critical flow strength. A second transition to strongly deformed shapes occurs at a yet larger value of the elasto-viscous number and is characterized by the appearance of localized high-curvature bends that propagate along the filaments in apparent "snaking" motions. A theoretical model for the as yet unexplored onset of snaking accurately predicts the transition and explains the observed dynamics. We present a complete characterization of filament morphologies and transitions as a function of elasto-viscous number and scaled persistence length and demonstrate excellent agreement between theory, experiments, and simulations.
Project description:Buckling and wrinkling instabilities are failure modes of elastic sheets that are avoided in the traditional material design. Recently, a new paradigm has appeared where these instabilities are instead being utilized for high-performance applications. Multiple approaches such as heterogeneous gelation, capillary stresses, and confinement have been used to shape thin macroscopic elastic sheets. However, it remains a challenge to shape two-dimensional self-assembled monolayers at colloidal or molecular length scales. Here, we show the existence of a curvature instability that arises during the crystallization of finite-sized monolayer membranes of chiral colloidal rods. While the bulk of the membrane crystallizes, its edge remains fluid like and exhibits chiral ordering. The resulting internal stresses cause the flat membrane to buckle macroscopically and wrinkle locally. Our results demonstrate an alternate pathway based on intrinsic stresses instead of the usual external ones to assemble non-Euclidean sheets at the colloidal length scale.
Project description:Viscoelastic fluids exhibit rheological nonlinearity at a high shear rate. Although typical nonlinear effects, shear thinning and shear thickening, have been usually understood by variation of intrinsic quantities such as viscosity, one still requires a better understanding of the microscopic origins, currently under debate, especially on the shear-thickening mechanism. We present accurate measurements of shear stress in the bound hydration water layer using noncontact dynamic force microscopy. We find shear thickening occurs above ? 10(6) s(-1) shear rate beyond 0.3-nm layer thickness, which is attributed to the nonviscous, elasticity-associated fluidic instability via fluctuation correlation. Such a nonlinear fluidic transition is observed due to the long relaxation time (? 10(-6) s) of water available in the nanoconfined hydration layer, which indicates the onset of elastic turbulence at nanoscale, elucidating the interplay between relaxation and shear motion, which also indicates the onset of elastic turbulence at nanoscale above a universal shear velocity of ? 1 mm/s. This extensive layer-by-layer control paves the way for fundamental studies of nonlinear nanorheology and nanoscale hydrodynamics, as well as provides novel insights on viscoelastic dynamics of interfacial water.