Uniaxial stretch-release of rubber-plastic bilayers: Strain-dependent transition to stable helices, rolls, saddles, and tubes

Rahul G. Ramachandran, Jonah de Cortie, Spandan Maiti, Luca Deseri, Sachin S. Velankar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Polymeric plastics deform irreversibly (i.e., inelastically) whereas rubbers deform reversibly, i.e., elastically. Thus, uniaxially stretching a rubber-plastic bilayer composite beyond its yield point can create an elastic strain mismatch between the two layers. Upon release, the bilayer may then bend out-of-plane. We quantify the mechanics of such stretch-release-induced shape changes in rectangular specimens of rubber-plastic bilayers. We show a remarkable dependence of the final shape upon the stretch applied prior to release. At small stretch, all bilayers bend into arch or roll shapes with the plastic on the convex face. At large stretch, the bilayers bend into half-tubes with the plastic, now heavily-wrinkled, becoming the concave face. Thus, the sign and direction of the curvature both flip as applied stretch increases. Between these two extremes, saddle shapes appear which have characteristics of both arches as well as half-tubes. Sufficiently narrow samples show different behavior: they transition from arches to helices as stretch increases. All these shapes are mono-stable. We document numerous ways in which the mechanics of rubber-plastic bilayers differs from that of fully-elastic bilayers. Most importantly, yielding of the plastic layer during the shape change strongly affects the mechanics of the elastic–plastic bilayers, and yielding accompanied by plastic wrinkling has an especially large effect. A strain energy model illustrates how the shape change is dictated by the change in the ratio of elastic strain mismatch in the two directions due to the formation of wrinkles at the rubber-plastic interface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101384
JournalExtreme Mechanics Letters
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Bilayer
  • Composites
  • Plasticity
  • Shape change
  • Strain mismatch
  • Wrinkling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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