Geometry-Driven Folding of a Floating Annular Sheet

Joseph D. Paulsen, Vincent Démery, K. Buǧra Toga, Zhanlong Qiu, Thomas P. Russell, Benny Davidovitch, Narayanan Menon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Predicting the large-amplitude deformations of thin elastic sheets is difficult due to the complications of self contact, geometric nonlinearities, and a multitude of low-lying energy states. We study a simple two-dimensional setting where an annular polymer sheet floating on an air-water interface is subjected to different tensions on the inner and outer rims. The sheet folds and wrinkles into many distinct morphologies that break axisymmetry. These states can be understood within a recent geometric approach for determining the gross shape of extremely bendable yet inextensible sheets by extremizing an appropriate area functional. Our analysis explains the remarkable feature that the observed buckling transitions between wrinkled and folded shapes are insensitive to the bending rigidity of the sheet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number048004
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 27 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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