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2015 News in Brief



MIT Mathematicians and Engineers Develop Theory to Predict Wrinkle Pattern Formation on Curved Systems

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Many natural and engineered systems that wrinkle, including drying fruit, fingerprints and microlenses, typically have complex curved geometries. Whereas the mechanics of wrinkling of flat systems is well understood, rationalizing the pattern formation of wrinkles on curved system has been far more challenging. Now a team of MIT mathematicians and engineers, including CEE Associate Professor Pedro Reis and Mathematics Assistant Professor Jörn Dunkel, has developed a mathematical theory to predict how wrinkles on curved surfaces take shape. Combining ideas from fluid mechanics with the theory of elasticity and data from Reis’ past experiments, the team derived an equation that reproduces the surface patterns observed in experiments and identifies the limits that govern surface patterning. According to Reis, this theory can potentially serve as a rational design tool to engineer objects with smart morphable surfaces. Read the MIT News article here.