Prescribed pattern transformation in swelling gel tubes by elastic instability

Howon Lee, Jiaping Zhang, Hanqing Jiang, Nicholas X. Fang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


We present a study on swelling-induced circumferential buckling of tubular shaped gels. Inhomogeneous stress develops as the gel swells under mechanical constraints, which gives rise to spontaneous buckling instability without an external force. Full control over the postbuckling pattern is experimentally demonstrated. A simple analytical model is developed using elastic energy to predict stability and postbuckling patterns upon swelling. Analysis reveals that the height to diameter ratio is the most critical design parameter to determine the buckling pattern, which agrees well with experimental and numerical results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number214304
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number21
StatePublished - May 25 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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