The macroscopic delamination of thin films from elastic substrates
Author(s)Reis, Pedro Miguel; Roman, Benoit; Boudaoud, Arezki; Bico, Jose; Vella, Dominic
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The wrinkling and delamination of stiff thin films adhered to a polymer substrate have important applications in “flexible electronics.” The resulting periodic structures, when used for circuitry, have remarkable mechanical properties because stretching or twisting of the substrate is mostly accommodated through bending of the film, which minimizes fatigue or fracture. To date, applications in this context have used substrate patterning to create an anisotropic substrate-film adhesion energy, thereby producing a controlled array of delamination “blisters.” However, even in the absence of such patterning, blisters appear spontaneously, with a characteristic size. Here, we perform well-controlled experiments at macroscopic scales to study what sets the dimensions of these blisters in terms of the material properties and explain our results by using a combination of scaling and analytical methods. Besides pointing to a method for determining the interfacial toughness, our analysis suggests a number of design guidelines for the thin films used in flexible electronic applications. Crucially, we show that, to avoid the possibility that delamination may cause fatigue damage, the thin film thickness must be greater than a critical value, which we determine.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
United States National Academy of Sciences
Vella, Dominic et al. “The macroscopic delamination of thin films from elastic substrates.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106.27 (2009): 10901-10906. © 2009 National Academy of Sciences
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