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Published April 8, 2011 | public
Journal Article

Gaussian curvature from flat elastica sheets


We discuss methods of reversibly inducing non-developable surfaces from flat sheets of material at the micro-scale all the way to macroscopic objects. We analyse the elastic ground states of a nematic glass in the membrane approximation as a function of temperature for disclination defects of topological charge +1. An aim is to show that by writing an appropriate director field into such a solid, one could create a surface with Gaussian curvature, dynamically switchable from flat sheets while avoiding stretch energy. In addition to the prospect of programmable structures, such surfaces offer actuation via stretch in thin systems since when illumination is subsequently removed, unavoidable stretches return.

Additional Information

© 2011 The Royal Society. Received 6 July 2010. Accepted 16 September 2010. Published online 20 October 2010. We are grateful for guidance from Professors Broer, Bastiaansen and Sanchez. C.D.M. and M.W. thank the EPSRC for funding under grant EP/E051251/1 and K.B. under EP/F060033/1.

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