On the mechanics of continua with boundary energies and growing surfaces

Steinmann P, Papastavrou A, Kuhl E (2013)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2013


Publisher: Elsevier

Book Volume: 61

Pages Range: 1446-1463

Journal Issue: 6

DOI: 10.1016/j.jmps.2013.01.007


Many biological systems are coated by thin films for protection, selective absorption, or transmembrane transport. A typical example is the mucous membrane covering the airways, the esophagus, and the intestine. Biological surfaces typically display a distinct mechanical behavior from the bulk; in particular, they may grow at different rates. Growth, morphological instabilities, and buckling of biological surfaces have been studied intensely by approximating the surface as a layer of finite thickness; however, growth has never been attributed to the surface itself. Here, we establish a theory of continua with boundary energies and growing surfaces of zero thickness in which the surface is equipped with its own potential energy and is allowed to grow independently of the bulk. In complete analogy to the kinematic equations, the balance equations, and the constitutive equations of a growing solid body, we derive the governing equations for a growing surface. We illustrate their spatial discretization using the finite element method, and discuss their consistent algorithmic linearization. To demonstrate the conceptual differences between volume and surface growth, we simulate the constrained growth of the inner layer of a cylindrical tube. Our novel approach toward continua with growing surfaces is capable of predicting extreme growth of the inner cylindrical surface, which more than doubles its initial area. The underlying algorithmic framework is robust and stable; it allows to predict morphological changes due to surface growth during the onset of buckling and beyond. The modeling of surface growth has immediate biomedical applications in the diagnosis and treatment of asthma, gastritis, obstructive sleep apnoea, and tumor invasion. Beyond biomedical applications, the scientific understanding of growth-induced morphological instabilities and surface wrinkling has important implications in material sciences, manufacturing, and microfabrication, with applications in soft lithography, metrology, and flexible electronics. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

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Steinmann, P., Papastavrou, A., & Kuhl, E. (2013). On the mechanics of continua with boundary energies and growing surfaces. Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids, 61(6), 1446-1463. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmps.2013.01.007


Steinmann, Paul, Areti Papastavrou, and Ellen Kuhl. "On the mechanics of continua with boundary energies and growing surfaces." Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids 61.6 (2013): 1446-1463.

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