Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Apr 17;109(16):5978-83. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1115674109. Epub 2012 Mar 26.

Buckling-induced encapsulation of structured elastic shells under pressure.

Author information

  • 1School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 021383, USA.


We introduce a class of continuum shell structures, the Buckliball, which undergoes a structural transformation induced by buckling under pressure loading. The geometry of the Buckliball comprises a spherical shell patterned with a regular array of circular voids. In order for the pattern transformation to be induced by buckling, the possible number and arrangement of these voids are found to be restricted to five specific configurations. Below a critical internal pressure, the narrow ligaments between the voids buckle, leading to a cooperative buckling cascade of the skeleton of the ball. This ligament buckling leads to closure of the voids and a reduction of the total volume of the shell by up to 54%, while remaining spherical, thereby opening the possibility of encapsulation. We use a combination of precision desktop-scale experiments, finite element simulations, and scaling analyses to explore the underlying mechanics of these foldable structures, finding excellent qualitative and quantitative agreement. Given that this folding mechanism is induced by a mechanical instability, our Buckliball opens the possibility for reversible encapsulation, over a wide range of length scales.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center