Wrapping liquids, solids, and gases in thin sheets

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Many objects in nature and industry are wrapped in a thin sheet to enhance their chemical, mechanical, or optical properties. Similarly, there are a variety of methods for wrapping, from pressing a film onto a hard substrate to inflating a closed membrane, to spontaneously wrapping droplets using capillary forces. Each of these settings raises challenging nonlinear problems involving the geometry and mechanics of a thin sheet, often in the context of resolving a geometric incompatibility between two surfaces. Here, we review recent progress in this area, focusing on highly bendable films that are nonetheless hard to stretch, a class of materials that includes polymer films, metal foils, textiles, and graphene, as well as some biological materials. Significant attention is paid to two recent advances: a novel isometry that arises in the doubly-asymptotic limit of high flexibility and weak tensile forcing, and a simple geometric model for predicting the overall shape of an interfacial film while ignoring small-scale wrinkles, crumples, and folds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-450
Number of pages20
JournalAnnual Review of Condensed Matter Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 10 2019


  • Buckling
  • Elastic sheets
  • Geometric incompatibility
  • Inflated surfaces
  • Isometries
  • Wrinkling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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