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Ribbon curling via stress relaxation in thin polymer films.

Prior, C. and Moussou, J. and Chakrabarti, B. and Jensen, O. E. and Juel, A. (2016) 'Ribbon curling via stress relaxation in thin polymer films.', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America., 113 (7). pp. 1719-1724.


The procedure of curling a ribbon by running it over a sharp blade is commonly used when wrapping presents. Despite its ubiquity, a quantitative explanation of this everyday phenomenon is still lacking. We address this using experiment and theory, examining the dependence of ribbon curvature on blade curvature, the longitudinal load imposed on the ribbon, and the speed of pulling. Experiments in which a ribbon is drawn steadily over a blade under a fixed load show that the ribbon curvature is generated over a restricted range of loads, the curvature/load relationship can be nonmonotonic, and faster pulling (under a constant imposed load) results in less tightly curled ribbons. We develop a theoretical model that captures these features, building on the concept that the ribbon under the imposed deformation undergoes differential plastic stretching across its thickness, resulting in a permanently curved shape. The model identifies factors that optimize curling and clarifies the physical mechanisms underlying the ribbon’s nonlinear response to an apparently simple deformation.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Date accepted:30 December 2015
Date deposited:16 March 2016
Date of first online publication:01 February 2016
Date first made open access:01 August 2016

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