Communications Physics ( IF 4.684 ) Pub Date : 2019-11-29 , DOI: 10.1038/s42005-019-0251-4 J. R. Panter, J. Chen, T. Zhang, H. Kusumaatmaja
Even for relatively simple thin shell morphologies, many different buckled configurations can be stable simultaneously. Which state is observed in practice is highly sensitive to both environmental perturbations and shell imperfections. The complexity and unpredictability of postbuckling responses has therefore raised great challenges to emerging technologies exploiting buckling transitions. Here we show how the buckling landscapes can be explored through a comprehensive survey of the stable states and the transition mechanisms between them, which we demonstrate for cylindrical shells. This is achieved by combining a simple and versatile triangulated lattice model with efficient high-dimensional free-energy minimisation and transition path finding algorithms. We then introduce the method of landscape biasing to show how the landscapes can be exploited to exert control over the postbuckling response, and develop structures which are resistant to lateral perturbations. These methods now offer the potential for studying complex buckling phenomena on a range of elastic shells.