Document Type



We develop an irregular lattice mass-spring model to simulate and study the deformation modes of a thin elastic ribbon as a function of applied end-to-end twist and tension. Our simulations reproduce all reported experimentally observed modes, including transitions from helicoids to longitudinal wrinkles, creased helicoids and loops with self-contact, and transverse wrinkles to accordion self-folds. Our simulations also show that the twist angles at which the primary longitudinal and transverse wrinkles appear are well described by various analyses of the Föppl-von Kármán equations, but the characteristic wavelength of the longitudinal wrinkles has a more complex relationship to applied tension than previously estimated. The clamped edges are shown to suppress longitudinal wrinkling over a distance set by the applied tension and the ribbon width, but otherwise have no apparent effect on measured wavelength. Further, by analyzing the stress profile, we find that longitudinal wrinkling does not completely alleviate compression, but caps the magnitude of the compression. Nonetheless, the width over which wrinkles form is observed to be wider than the near-threshold analysis predictions: the width is more consistent with the predictions of far-from-threshold analysis. However, the end-to-end contraction of the ribbon as a function of twist is found to more closely follow the corresponding near-threshold prediction as tension in the ribbon is increased, in contrast to the expectations of far-from-threshold analysis. These results point to the need for further theoretical analysis of this rich thin elastic system, guided by our physically robust and intuitive simulation model. © 2023 American Physical Society.

Publication Title

Physical Review E

Publication Date











complex relationships, computational modelling, deformation modes, end to end, mass-spring models, near thresholds, threshold analysis, transverse wrinkles, twist angles; Von Karman equations

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Physics Commons



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