Recent experiment shows that an elastic strain gradient field can be utilized to transport spherical particles on a stretchable substrate by rolling, inspired by which a generalized plane-strain Johnson-Kendall-Roberts model is developed in this paper in order to verify possible rolling of an elastic cylinder adhering on an elastic substrate subject to a strain gradient. With the help of contact mechanics, closed form solutions of interface tractions, stress intensity factors, and corresponding energy release rates in the plane-strain contact model are obtained, based on which a possible rolling motion of an elastic cylinder induced by strain gradients is found and the criterion for the initiation of rolling is established. The theoretical prediction is consistent well with the existing experimental observation. The result should be helpful for understanding biological transport mechanisms through muscle contractions and the design of transport systems with strain gradient
Support from the National Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 11372317 and 11125211), the 973 Nano-project (2012CB937500), and the CAS/SAFEA International Partnership Program for Creative Research Teams are gratefully acknowledged.