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Ribbon curling via stress relaxation in thin polymer films

Prior, C.; Moussou, J.; Chakrabarti, B.; Jensen, O.E.; Juel, A.

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J. Moussou

B. Chakrabarti

O.E. Jensen

A. Juel


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.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 30, 2015
Online Publication Date Feb 1, 2016
Publication Date Feb 16, 2016
Deposit Date Mar 3, 2016
Publicly Available Date Aug 1, 2016
Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Print ISSN 0027-8424
Electronic ISSN 1091-6490
Publisher National Academy of Sciences
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 113
Issue 7
Pages 1719-1724
Public URL


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