A thin film at a liquid interface responds to uniaxial confinement by wrinkling and then by folding; its shape and energy have been computed exactly before self contact. Here, we address the mechanics of large folds, i.e. folds that absorb a length much larger than the wrinkle wavelength. With scaling arguments and numerical simulations, we show that the antisymmetric fold is energetically favorable and can absorb any excess length at zero pressure. Then, motivated by puzzles arising in the comparison of this simple model to experiments on lipid monolayers and capillary rafts, we discuss how to incorporate film weight, selfadhesion and energy dissipation.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/benny_davidovitch/13/