Thermal stiffening of clamped elastic ribbons

Duanduan Wan, David R. Nelson, Mark J. Bowick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


We use molecular dynamics to study the vibrations of a thermally fluctuating two-dimensional elastic membrane clamped at both ends. We directly extract the eigenmodes from resonant peaks in the frequency domain of the time-dependent height and measure the dependence of the corresponding eigenfrequencies on the microscopic bending rigidity of the membrane, taking care also of the subtle role of thermal contraction in generating a tension when the projected area is fixed. At finite temperatures we show that the effective (macroscopic) bending rigidity tends to a constant as the bare bending rigidity vanishes, consistent with theoretical arguments that the large-scale bending rigidity of the membrane arises from a strong thermal renormalization of the microscopic bending rigidity. Experimental realizations include covalently bonded two-dimensional atomically thin membranes such as graphene and molybdenum disulfide or soft matter systems such as the spectrin skeleton of red blood cells or diblock copolymers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number014106
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 11 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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