Flattening of a patterned compliant solid by surface stress

We measured the shape change of periodic ridge surface profiles in gelatin organogels resulting from deformation driven by their solid-vapor surface stress. A gelatin organogel was molded onto poly-dimethylsiloxane (PDMS) masters having ridge heights of 1.7 and 2.7 [small mu ]m and several periodicities. Gel replicas were found to have a shape deformed significantly compared to their PDMS master. Systematically larger deformations in gels were measured for lower elastic moduli. Measuring the elastic modulus independently, we estimate a surface stress of 107 +/- 7 mN m-1for the organogels in solvent composed of 70 wt% glycerol and 30 wt% water. Shape changes are in agreement with a small strain linear elastic theory. We also measured the deformation of deeper ridges (with height 13 [small mu ]m), and analysed the resulting large surface strains using finite element analysis.