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Tuesday, May 27, 2008
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
CNLS Conference Room (TA-3, Bldg 1690)


Cuts, cracks and creases: geometry and mechanics

L. Mahadevan
Harvard University

I will discuss some simple examples of how solids fail when strongly deformed. In each example, geometry and physics meld with each other interestingly. We start with the example of opening an envelope with the finger, and show how geometry dictates the pattern of failure. We then move on to how a thin film peels off from a substrate to which it is adhered and show how the undulations that appear dramatically change the toughness of the interface. Moving on to a layer of scum on the surface of a liquid, we show how surfactants cause the scum to fracture in a rather dramatic way. We close with a discussion of how mud cracks and how creases form on soft interfaces.

Host: Bob Ecke, T-CNLS