The European Physical Journal E

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 119–124 | Cite as

Buckling of swelling gels

  • T. Mora
  • A. Boudaoud
Regular Article


The patterns arising from the differential swelling of gels are investigated experimentally and theoretically as a model for the differential growth of living tissues. Two geometries are considered: a thin strip of soft gel clamped to a stiff gel, and a thin corona of soft gel clamped to a disk of stiff gel. When the structure is immersed in water, the soft gel swells and bends out of plane leading to a wavy periodic pattern whose wavelength is measured. The linear stability of the flat state is studied in the framework of linear elasticity using the equations for thin plates. The flat state is shown to become unstable to oscillations above a critical swelling rate and the computed wavelengths are in quantitative agreement with the experiment.


46.32.+x Static buckling and instability 61.41.+e Polymers, elastomers, and plastics 87.18.La Morphogenesis 68.35.Gy Mechanical properties; surface strains 


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Copyright information

© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica and Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Mora
    • 1
  • A. Boudaoud
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Physique Statistique de l'École Normale SupérieureParis Cedex 05France

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