Coexistence of wrinkles and blisters in supported graphene

Kuan Zhang, Marino Arroyo

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18 Scopus citations


Blisters induced by gas trapped in the interstitial space between supported graphene and the substrate are commonly observed. These blisters are often quasi-spherical with a circular rim, but polygonal blisters are also common and coexist with wrinkles emanating from their vertices. Here, we show that these different blister morphologies can be understood mechanically in terms of free energy minimization of the supported graphene sheet for a given mass of trapped gas and for a given lateral strain. Using a nonlinear continuum model for supported graphene closely reproducing experimental images of blisters, we build a morphological diagram as a function of strain and trapped mass. We show that the transition from quasi-spherical to polygonal of blisters as compressive strain is increased is a process of stretching energy relaxation and focusing, as many other crumpling events in thin sheets. Furthermore, to characterize this transition, we theoretically examine the onset of nucleation of short wrinkles in the periphery of a quasi-spherical blister. Our results are experimentally testable and provide a framework to control complex out-of-plane motifs in supported graphene combining blisters and wrinkles for strain engineering of graphene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-30
Number of pages8
JournalExtreme Mechanics Letters
StatePublished - Jul 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge the support of the European Research Council under the European Community's 7th Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013)/ERC grant agreement nr 240487. KZ acknowledges the support of the UPC. MA acknowledges the support received through the prize “ICREA Academia” for excellence in research, funded by the Generalitat de Catalunya.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd


  • Blisters
  • Graphene
  • Strain engineering
  • Wrinkles


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