Biaxially Mechanical Tuning of 2‑D Reversible and Irreversible Surface Topologies through Simultaneous and Sequential Wrinkling

Controlled buckling is a facile means of structuring surfaces. The resulting ordered wrinkling topologies provide surface properties and features desired for multifunctional applications. Here, we study the biaxially dynamic tuning of two-dimensional wrinkled micropatterns under cyclic mechanical stretching/releasing/restretching simultaneously or sequentially. A biaxially prestretched PDMS substrate is coated with a stiff polymer deposited by initiated chemical vapor deposition (iCVD). Applying a mechanical release/restretch cycle in two directions loaded simultaneously or sequentially to the wrinkled system results in a variety of dynamic and tunable wrinkled geometries, the evolution of which is investigated using in situ optical profilometry, numerical simulations, and theoretical modeling. Results show that restretching ordered herringbone micropatterns, created through sequential release of biaxial prestrain, leads to reversible and repeatable surface topography. The initial flat surface and the same wrinkled herringbone pattern are obtained alternatively after cyclic release/restretch processes, owing to the highly ordered structure leaving no avenue for trapping irregular topological regions during cycling as further evidenced by the uniformity of strains distributions and negligible residual strain. Conversely, restretching disordered labyrinth micropatterns created through simultaneous release shows an irreversible surface topology whether after sequential or simultaneous restretching due to creation of irregular surface topologies with regions of highly concentrated strain upon formation of the labyrinth which then lead to residual strains and trapped topologies upon cycling; furthermore, these trapped topologies depend upon the subsequent strain histories as well as the cycle. The disordered labyrinth pattern varies after each cyclic release/restretch process, presenting residual shallow patterns instead of achieving a flat state. The ability to dynamically tune the highly ordered herringbone patterning through mechanical stretching or other actuation makes these wrinkles excellent candidates for tunable multifunctional surfaces properties such as reflectivity, friction, anisotropic liquid flow or boundary layer control.