Journal article

Shape and Motion of a Ruck in a Rug

The motion of a ruck in a rug is used as an analogy to explain the role of dislocations in crystalline solids. We take literally one side of this analogy and study the shape and motion of a bump, wrinkle or ruck in a thin sheet in partial contact with a rough substrate in a gravitational field. Using a combination of experiments, scaling analysis and numerical solutions of the governing equations, we quantify the static shape of a ruck on a horizontal plane. When the plane is inclined, the ruck becomes asymmetric and moves by rolling only when the inclination of the plane reaches a critical angle, at a speed determined by a simple power balance. We find that the angle at which rolling starts is larger than the angle at which the ruck stops; i.e., static rolling friction is larger than dynamic rolling friction. We conclude with a generalization of our results to wrinkles in soft adherent extensible films.


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