3 years ago

Growth patterns for shape-shifting elastic bilayers [Applied Physical Sciences]

Growth patterns for shape-shifting elastic bilayers [Applied Physical Sciences]
Etienne Vouga, Wim M. van Rees, L. Mahadevan

Inspired by the differential-growth-driven morphogenesis of leaves, flowers, and other tissues, there is increasing interest in artificial analogs of these shape-shifting thin sheets made of active materials that respond to environmental stimuli such as heat, light, and humidity. But how can we determine the growth patterns to achieve a given shape from another shape? We solve this geometric inverse problem of determining the growth factors and directions (the metric tensors) for a given isotropic elastic bilayer to grow into a target shape by posing and solving an elastic energy minimization problem. A mathematical equivalence between bilayers and curved monolayers simplifies the inverse problem considerably by providing algebraic expressions for the growth metric tensors in terms of those of the final shape. This approach also allows us to prove that we can grow any target surface from any reference surface using orthotropically growing bilayers. We demonstrate this by numerically simulating the growth of a flat sheet into a face, a cylindrical sheet into a flower, and a flat sheet into a complex canyon-like structure.

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