## Recent Publications

### Validity of Winkler's mattress model for thin elastomeric layers: Beyond Poisson's ratio

#### Chandler, T. G. J. & Vella, D. (2020)

Winkler’s mattress model is often used as a simplified model to understand how a thin elastic layer, such as a coating, deforms when subject to a distributed normal load: the deformation of the layer is assumed proportional to the applied normal load. This simplicity means that the Winkler model has found a wide range of applications from soft matter to geophysics. However, in the limit of an incompressible elastic layer the model predicts infinite resistance to deformation, and hence breaks down. Since many of the thin layers used in applications are elastomeric, and hence close to incompressible, we consider the question of when the Winkler model is appropriate for such layers. We formally derive a model that interpolates between the Winkler and incompressible limits for thin elastic layers, and illustrate this model by detailed consideration of two example problems: the point-indentation of a coated elastomeric layer and self-sustained lift in soft elastohydrodynamic lubrication. We find that the applicability (or otherwise) of the Winkler model is not determined by the value of the Poisson ratio alone, but by a compressibility parameter that combines the Poisson ratio with a measure of the layer’s slenderness, which itself depends on the problem under consideration.

### Indentation of suspended two-dimensional solids: The signatures of geometrical and material nonlinearity.

#### Chandler, T. G. J. & Vella, D. (2020)

The material characterization of ultra-thin solid sheets, including two-dimensional materials like graphene, is often performed through indentation tests on a flake suspended over a hole in a substrate. While this ‘suspended indentation’ is a convenient means of measuring properties such as the stretching (two-dimensional) modulus of such materials, experiments on ostensibly similar systems have reported very different material properties. In this paper, we present a modelling study of this indentation process assuming elastic behaviour. In particular, we investigate the possibility that the reported differences may arise from different geometrical parameters and/or non-Hookean deformations, which lead to the system exploring nonlinearities with geometrical or material origins.