Smooth cascade of wrinkles at the edge of a floating elastic film

Jiangshui Huang, Benny Davidovitch, Christian D. Santangelo, Thomas P. Russell, Narayanan Menon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


An ultrathin polymer sheet floating on a fluid forms a periodic pattern of parallel wrinkles when subjected to uniaxial compression. The wave number of the wrinkle pattern increases sharply near the fluid meniscus where the translational symmetry of this one-dimensional corrugated profile is broken. We show that the observed multiscale morphology is controlled by a new "softness" number that quantifies the relative strength of capillary forces at the edge and the rigidity of the bulk pattern. We discover a new elastic cascade by which the wrinkling pattern in the bulk is smoothly matched to the fine structure at the edge by a discrete series of higher Fourier modes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number038302
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 14 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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