Mechanical modeling of a wrinkled fingertip immersed in water

Jie YIN, Gregory J. GERLING, Xi CHEN*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Fingertips often wrinkle after extended exposure to water. The underlying mechanics issues, in particular the critical parameters governing the wrinkled morphology, are studied by using both finite element simulation and analytical modeling. The wrinkling behaviors, characterized by the wrinkle-to-wrinkle distance (wavelength), wrinkle depth (amplitude) and critical wrinkling stress/strain, are investigated as the geometry and material parameters of the fingertip are varied. A simple reduced model is employed to understand the effect of finger curvature and skin thickness, whereas a more refined full anatomical model provides the basis for analyzing the effect of a multilayered skin structure. The simulation results demonstrate that the stiffness of the stratum corneum and the dermal layer in the skin has a large effect on the wrinkling behavior, which agrees well with the analytical predictions. From the uncovered mechanical principles, potential ways for effectively slowing down and suppressing skin wrinkles are proposed; among them, increasing the modulus of the dermal layer in the skin appears to be the most effective. © 2009 Acta Materialia Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1487-1496
Number of pages10
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Issue number4
Early online date21 Oct 2009
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This study was supported by National Science Foundation CMMI-CAREER-0643726. The authors thank the valuable suggestions and comments from the anonymous reviewers.


  • Finite element analysis
  • Modeling
  • Skin wrinkles
  • Surface topography


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