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Elastic instabilities in soft solids

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We prototypical elastic instability is the buckling of a slender column under a compressive load. Soft elastic solids, such as rubbers, gels, and biological tissues, are united by their ability to sustain very large shape changes, and consequently undergo a range of more exotic elastic instabilities, many of which we are only now understanding. In this talk I will discuss the three instabilities I spoke about in my recent CUED job talk – fingering in soft solid layers under tension, beading in solid cylinders subject to surface tension and sulcus formation at the boundary of soft solids in compression – then present for the first time some new results on peristaltic undulation in cylindrical cavities and fingering in solid layers subject to gravity. I will finish by arguing that elastic instability underpins the formation of the folds on the surface of the human brain.

This talk is part of the Engineering Department Bio- and Micromechanics Seminars series.

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