Scaling Properties of Stretching Ridges in a Crumpled Elastic Sheet

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  01 Dec 1995:
Vol. 270, Issue 5241, pp. 1482-1485
DOI: 10.1126/science.270.5241.1482


Strong deformation of a sheet of solid material often leads to a crumpled state having sharp points of high curvature. A scaling property governing the crumpled state has been numerically demonstrated by an examination of the ridges joining pairs of sharp points in a range of simple geometries of variable size. As the linear size X increases sufficiently, the deformation energy grows as X1/3 and consists of similar amounts of bending and stretching energy. The deformation energy becomes concentrated in a fraction of the sheet that decreases as X1/3. Despite this concentration, the local strain in the ridge decreases as X2/3. Nearly all the deformation energy in thin, crumpled elastic sheets was found to be concentrated in ridges that obey these scaling laws.