Cusp-Shaped Elastic Creases and Furrows

Stefan Karpitschka, Jens Eggers, A Pandey, Jacco Snoeijer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
235 Downloads (Pure)


The surfaces of growing biological tissues, swelling gels, and compressed rubbers do not remain smooth, but frequently exhibit highly localized inward folds. We reveal the morphology of this surface folding in a novel experimental setup, which permits to deform the surface of a soft gel in a controlled fashion. The interface first forms a sharp furrow, whose tip size decreases rapidly with deformation. Above a critical deformation, the furrow bifurcates to an inward folded crease of vanishing tip size. We show experimentally and numerically that both creases and furrows exhibit a universal cusp-shape, whose width scales like y 3/2 at a distance y from the tip. We provide a similarity theory that captures the singular profiles before and after the self-folding bifurcation, and derive the length of the fold from large deformation elasticity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number198001
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number19
Early online date7 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2017


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