Elastogranular sheets

A Guerra and DP Holmes, MATTER, 6, 1217-1230 (2023).

DOI: 10.1016/j.matt.2023.01.029

Grains (rice, cells, sand, pills) and structures (tissue, packaging, geo-textile fabric, roots) often compete for space. Cells divide, rear- range, and pack within a contorting embryo. Proteins adsorb to cell membranes, inducing a change in spontaneous curvature. Under extreme confinement, grains pack and jam, while structures buckle and crumple. Here, we study grains contacting an elastic plate (an elastogranular sheet). We find that as the grain-sheet interaction strength overcomes the sheet's bending rigidity, two key phenom-ena emerge. First, the sheet will locally conform to individual grains. Second, the sheet will globally conform to the granular packing if the packing is constrained either through a confining force (which we study using granular self- coherence) or through jamming on the surface of the sheet. We expect these results to provide a simpli-fied framework for modeling elastogranular interactions across a wide range of length scales, relevant to cell mechanics, morphogen-esis, food packaging, and erosion mitigation.

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