A surface with stress, extensional elasticity, and bending stiffness.Soft Matter. 2019 May 08; 15(18):3817-3827.SM
We demonstrate that the surface of a commonly used polydimethylsiloxane formulation (PDMS, Sylgard 184) treated by ultraviolet ozonolysis (UVO) has significant surface stress, considerable extensional elasticity (the "Shuttleworth Effect"), and surface bending elasticity. For soft solids, phenomena such as wetting, contact, surface flattening, and stiffening by liquid inclusions are often governed by their surface, which is usually represented by a liquid-like constant surface stress. Whether the surfaces of soft solids can have more complex constitutive response is actively debated. We studied the deformation of three surface-patterned materials systems: untreated polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), an organogel, and patterned PDMS with surface treatment by UVO. The last of these three, we found, has complex surface elasticity. This is analogous to the situation for liquids in which the presence of a second phase at the interface yields Gibbs elasticity. Our finding is of broad applicability because in soft solids the behavior of the surface can often dominate bulk deformation.