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We consider peeling of an elastic sheet away from an elastic substrate through propagation of a fluid-filled crack along the interface between the two. The peeling is driven by a bending moment applied to the sheet and is resisted by viscous flow towards the crack tip and by the toughness of any bonding between the sheet and the substrate. Travelling-wave solutions are determined using lubrication theory coupled to the full equations of elasticity and fracture. The propagation speed
is the sheet’s thickness,
its plane-strain modulus,
the fluid viscosity,
the applied bending moment and
the sheet’s curvature due to bending; and the prefactor depends on the dimensionless toughness. If the toughness is small then there is a region of dry shear failure ahead of the fluid-filled region. The expressions for the propagation speed have been used to derive new similarity solutions for the spread of an axisymmetric fluid-filled blister in a variety of regimes: constant-flux injection resisted by elastohydrodynamics in the tip leads to spread proportional to
for peeling-by-bending, gravitational spreading and peeling-by-pulling, respectively.
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