Structured viscoelastic substrates as linear foundations

Chen Bar-Haim, Haim Diamant*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The linear (Winkler) foundation is a simple model widely used for decades to account for the surface response of elastic bodies. It models the response as purely local, linear, and perpendicular to the surface. We extend this model to the case in which the foundation is made of a structured material such as a polymer network, which has characteristic scales of length and time. We use the two-fluid model of viscoelastic structured materials to treat a film of finite thickness, supported on a rigid solid and subjected to a concentrated normal force at its free surface. We obtain the foundation modulus (Winkler constant) as a function of the film's thickness, intrinsic correlation length, and viscoelastic moduli, for three choices of boundary conditions. The results can be used to readily extend earlier applications of the Winkler model to more complex, microstructured substrates. They also provide a way to extract the intrinsic properties of such complex materials from mechanical surface measurements.

Original languageEnglish
Article number025005
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2022


FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation986/18


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