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Dual modulus actuators for snap-through instability

Design paradigms that enable the fast and rapid responses can unlock the true potential of soft-materials as they suffer from slow responses and small forces. Nature is a great source of inspiration where its elegant machineries can put instabilities into work to respond in a rapid manner. Venus flytrap, for example, can close its leaves to catch a prey in less then 100 milliseconds by employing snap-through instability.

Project Summary

We have previously demonstrated the potential of snap-through instability in liquid crystalline networks (LCNs) with snappers that can actuate in less than 70 milliseconds, propel big and small objects from its surface (Figure 1). In this work we aim to intensify the performance of snap-through by developing dual modulus actuators. The first step is going to be the development of chemistry and fabrication of the LCNs with dual modulus, after which its integration into a device can follow.

Project GoalsĀ 

I am looking for motivated students to help me with the fabrication of dual modulus
actuators. Work is going to include the optimization of the fabrication procedure and
characterization of the actuators.