The complexity of fracture-induced segmentation in elastically constrained cohesive (fragile) systems originates from the presence of competing interactions. The role of discreteness in such phenomena is of interest in a variety of fields, from hierarchical self-assembly to developmental morphogenesis. In this paper, we study the analytically solvable example of segmentation in a breakable mass–spring chain elastically linked to a deformable lattice structure. We explicitly construct the complete set of local minima of the energy in this prototypical problem and identify among them the states corresponding to the global energy minima. We show that, even in the continuum limit, the dependence of the segmentation topology on the stretching/pre-stress parameter in this problem takes the form of a devil's type staircase. The peculiar nature of this staircase, characterized by locking in rational microstructures, is of particular importance for biological applications, where its structure may serve as an explanation of the robustness of stress-driven segmentation.
This article is part of the themed issue ‘Patterning through instabilities in complex media: theory and applications.’
One contribution of 13 to a theme issue ‘Patterning through instabilities in complex media: theory and applications.’
- Accepted December 6, 2016.
- © 2017 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.