Delamination of a thin sheet from a soft adhesive Winkler substrate

Oz Oshri, Ya Liu, Joanna Aizenberg, Anna C. Balazs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A uniaxially compressed thin elastic sheet that is resting on a soft adhesive substrate can form a blister, which is a small delaminated region, if the adhesion energy is sufficiently weak. To analyze the equilibrium behavior of this system, we model the substrate as a Winkler or fluid foundation. We develop a complete set of equations for the profile of the sheet at different applied pressures. We show that at the edge of delamination, the height of the sheet is equal to 2c, where c is the capillary length. We then derive an approximate solution to these equations and utilize them for two applications. First, we determine the phase diagram of the system by analyzing possible transitions from the flat and wrinkled to delaminated states of the sheet. Second, we show that our solution for a blister on a soft foundation converges to the known solution for a blister on a rigid substrate that assumed a discontinuous bending moment at the blister edges. This continuous convergence into a discontinuous state marks the formation of a boundary layer around the point of delamination. The width of this layer relative to the extent length of the blister, , scales as w/ ∼( c/ ec)1/2, where ec is the elastocapillary length scale. Notably, our findings can provide guidelines for utilizing compression to remove thin biofilms from surfaces and thereby prevent the fouling of the system.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number062803
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number6
StatePublished - 20 Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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