Capillary-induced deformations of a thin elastic sheet

N. D. Brubaker, J. Lega

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


We develop a three-dimensional model for capillary origami systems in which a rectangular plate has finite thickness, is allowed to stretch and undergoes small deflections. This latter constraint limits our description of the encapsulation process to its initial folding phase. We first simplify the resulting system of equations to two dimensions by assuming that the plate has infinite aspect ratio, which allows us to compare our approach to known two-dimensional capillary origami models for inextensible plates. Moreover, as this two-dimensional model is exactly solvable, we give an expression for its solution in terms of its parameters. We then turn to the full three-dimensional model in the limit of small drop volume and provide numerical simulations showing how the plate and the drop deform due to the effect of capillary forces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20150169
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number2066
StatePublished - Apr 28 2016


  • Capillary origami
  • Elasto-capillary system
  • Energy minimization
  • Nonlinear membrane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Mathematics
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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