Fundamental Studies of Interfacial Forces Acting on Thin Films
Twohig, Timothy John
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A thin film is a material that is many orders of magnitude thinner than it is long or wide. They are commonly found in many forms and have been adapted to a wide variety of uses. The art of origami uses thin films(sheets of paper) and precise folding to create complex, three-dimensional shapes out of flat, quasi two-dimensional sheets, and has emerged as a unique way to solve problems in engineering and science. As technology and devices are scaled to smaller sizes new understanding of origami methods are required to work at these small scales. The interactions between thin films and liquids, substrates that films exist on, and other thin films is the focus of this dissertation. Capillary interactions are used to manipulate and fold thin films that are too thin to be actuated with hands or everyday tools. The relation between the macroscopic and the microscopic interactions at the point where the capillary liquid and the film meet is explored. We show how films can be manipulated by capillary drops and how exactly the force is applied to the film. The adhesive interactions of the film were studied as a method of precisely placing folds for elastic film origami. The capillary peel of a film from a substrate drove folds to desired locations. Adhesion of a film to itself was used to lock these bends in place in lieu of the permanent creases commonly used in plastic systems such as paper. The combination of these two methods enabled the creation of stable, multi-step origami systems from reusable elastic films. This research culminates in the discussion of fundamentally new origami-like designs that rely only on adhesion of the film to itself, which we call kuttsukugami (sticky+paper from Japanese). This new form allows for the creation of shapes that are nearly impossible to create with traditional origami methods such as loops, tubes, and cones. Advances made in capillary and adhesive thin film studies allow for kuttsukugami shapes to be scaled down to microscopic sizes for a huge array of applications including drug delivery, thin electronics, encapsulation, and more.