Exact solutions for the wrinkle patterns of confined elastic shells

Ian Tobasco, Yousra Timounay, Desislava Todorova, Graham C. Leggat, Joseph D. Paulsen, Eleni Katifori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Complex textured surfaces occur in nature and industry, from fingerprints to lithography-based micropatterns. Wrinkling by confinement to an incompatible substrate is an attractive way of generating reconfigurable patterned topographies, but controlling the often asymmetric and apparently stochastic wrinkles that result remains an elusive goal. Here, we describe a new approach to understanding the wrinkles of confined elastic shells, using a Lagrange multiplier in place of stress. Our theory reveals a simple set of geometric rules predicting the emergence and layout of orderly wrinkles, and explaining a surprisingly generic co-existence of ordered and disordered wrinkle domains. The results agree with numerous test cases across simulation and experiment and represent an elementary geometric toolkit for designing complex wrinkle patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1099-1104
Number of pages6
JournalNature Physics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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