Emergent perversions in the buckling of heterogeneous elastic strips

Shuangping Liu, Zhenwei Yao, Kevin Chiou, Samuel I. Stupp, Monica Olvera De La Cruz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


A perversion in an otherwise uniform helical structure, such as a climbing plant tendril, refers to a kink that connects two helices with opposite chiralities. Such singularity structures are widely seen in natural and artificial mechanical systems, and they provide the fundamental mechanism of helical symmetry breaking. However, it is still not clear how perversions arise in various helical structures and which universal principles govern them. As such, a heterogeneous elastic bistrip system provides an excellent model to address these questions. Here, we investigate intrinsic perversion properties which are independent of strip shapes. This study reveals the rich physics of perversions in the 3D elastic system, including the condensation of strain energy over perversions during their formation, the repulsive nature of the perversion-perversion interaction, and the coalescence of perversions that finally leads to a linear defect structure. This study may have implications for understanding relevant biological motifs and for use of perversions as energy storers in the design of micromuscles and soft robotics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7100-7105
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number26
StatePublished - Jun 28 2016


  • Defect
  • Elasticity
  • Energy concentration
  • Helix
  • Perversion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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