Wrinkling of a bilayer membrane

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American Physical Society
The buckling of elastic bodies is a common phenomenon in the mechanics of solids. Wrinkling of membranes can often be interpreted as buckling under constraints that prohibit large-amplitude deformation. We present a combination of analytic calculations, experiments, and simulations to understand wrinkling patterns generated in a bilayer membrane. The model membrane is composed of a flexible spherical shell that is under tension and that is circumscribed by a stiff, essentially incompressible strip with bending modulus B. When the tension is reduced sufficiently to a value σ, the strip forms wrinkles with a uniform wavelength found theoretically and experimentally to be λ=2π(B/σ)1/3. Defects in this pattern appear for rapid changes in tension. Comparison between experiment and simulation further shows that, with larger reduction of tension, a second generation of wrinkles with longer wavelength appears only when B is sufficiently small.
biomembranes, biomechanics, elastic bodies, deformation, wrinkling patterns, flexible spherical shell, incompressible strip, biological cells, bending
Physical Review E (Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics) Jan. 2007, vol.75, no.1, pp. 16609-1-6