A robust method for quantification of surface elasticity in soft solids

Stefanie Heyden*, Petia M. Vlahovska, Eric R. Dufresne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


We propose an approach to measure surface elastic constants of soft solids. Generally, this requires one to probe interfacial mechanics at around the elastocapillary length scale, which is typically microscopic. Deformations of microscopic droplets embedded in soft solids are particularly attractive, because they avoid intrinsic nonlinearities associated with previous experiments such as the equilibrium of contact lines and the relaxation of patterned surfaces. We derive analytical solutions for the shape of droplets under uniaxial deformation and for the radius of droplets upon hydrostatic inflation. We couple mechanical deformations to the dissolution of droplets to assess experimental sensitivities. Combined with experimental data from both modes of deformation, one should be able to reliably extract the complete set of isotropic surface material parameters following a specific minimization procedure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104786
JournalJournal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • Elastocapillarity
  • Soft solids
  • Surface elasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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