### Abstract

The paper is concerned with mappings h: X onto→ between planar domains having least Dirichlet energy. The existence and uniqueness (up to a conformal change of variables in X) of the energy-minimal mappings is established within the H̄_{2}(X, Y) of strong limits of homeomorphisms in the Sobolev space W^{1,2}(X, Y), a result of considerable interest in the mathematical models of nonlinear elasticity. The inner variation of the independent variable in X leads to the Hopf differential h_{z}h_{z̄}dz⊗dz and its trajectories. For a pair of doubly connected domains, in which X has finite conformal modulus, we establish the following principle: A mapping h ∈ H̄_{2}(X, Y) is energy-minimal if and only if its Hopf-differential is analytic in X and real along ∂X. In general, the energy-minimal mappings may not be injective, in which case one observes the occurrence of slits in X (cognate with cracks). Slits are triggered by points of concavity of Y. They originate from ∂X and advance along vertical trajectories of the Hopf differential toward X where they eventually terminate, so no crosscuts are created.

Original language | English (US) |
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Pages (from-to) | 401-453 |

Number of pages | 53 |

Journal | Archive for Rational Mechanics and Analysis |

Volume | 209 |

Issue number | 2 |

DOIs | |

State | Published - Aug 2013 |

### ASJC Scopus subject areas

- Analysis
- Mathematics (miscellaneous)
- Mechanical Engineering