While the soft robot handles may peel off on the outside, they often still have hard, unstable electronic parts inside. However, a new and potentially more flexible, 100% soft biological capture system.
Developed by a team of scientists from the Southeastern University of China, the experimental imaging device is inspired by plants such as the Venus flywheel, which move in response to magnetic stimuli. environment.
The researchers started with a polymer slab called a liquid crystal elastomer (LCE), which changes its shape in response to changes in temperature. They then applied a liquid metal (nickel-transfer gallium-indium alloy) to its surface, which arranged magnetically into lines, forming an uninterrupted circuit. Finally, they sealed the circuit with a layer of silicone.
When an electric current is passed through the circuit, a small amount of heat is generated in the material. Then, the mechanical pressure on the surface of the material dilates the circuit, causing the current and thus the temperature of the material to decrease. As a result, the LCE curves inward. The pressure drop allows it to return to its default flat state.
In this way, scientists were able to grip small objects by pressing the handle against them, causing it to bend. These objects can then be lifted, moved and then dropped when the handle is not deformed after the initial pressure is released.
The device is illustrated in the video below – to better visualize its transformation activity, a type of silicone was used to change from pink to red as its temperature rose.
An article about the research was recently published in the journal ACS Materials & Interface Applications.
Source: American Chemical Society
A smart soft material that bends under pressure or expands when stretched – Headline Science