Pressurized graphene bubbles have been observed in experiments, which can be used to determine the mechanical and adhesive properties of graphene. A nonlinear plate theory is adapted to describe the deformation of a graphene monolayer subject to lateral loads, where the bending moduli of monolayer graphene are independent of the in-plane Young's modulus and Poisson's ratio. A numerical method is developed to solve the nonlinear equations for circular graphene bubbles, and the results are compared to approximate solutions by analytical methods. Molecular dynamics simulations of nanoscale graphene bubbles are performed, and it is found that the continuum plate theory is suitable only within the limit of linear elasticity. Moreover, the effect of van der Waals interactions between graphene and its underlying substrate is analyzed, including large-scale interaction for nanoscale graphene bubbles subject to relatively low pressures.

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