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Curvature Regularization near Contacts with Stretched Elastic Tubes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article number168002
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number16-18
DateAccepted/In press - 31 Aug 2019
DatePublished (current) - 17 Oct 2019


Inserting a rigid object into a soft elastic tube produces conformal contact between the two, resulting in contact lines. The curvature of the tube walls near these contact lines is often large and is typically regularized by the finite bending rigidity of the tube. Here, it is demonstrated using experiments and a Föppl-von Kármán-like theory that a second, independent, mechanism of curvature regularization occurs when the tube is axially stretched. In contrast with the effects of finite bending rigidity, the radius of curvature obtained increases with the applied stretching force and decreases with sheet thickness. The dependence of the curvature on a suitably rescaled stretching force is found to be universal, independent of the shape of the intruder, and results from an interplay between the longitudinal stresses due to the applied stretch and hoop stresses characteristic of curved geometry. These results suggest that curvature measurements can be used to infer the mechanical properties of stretched tubular structures.

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