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Theory Seminar & Webinar: Biomimetic ciliary propulsion with soft robotic microactuation

Dr. Edoardo Milana (KU Leuven)

09.07.2020 11:00 Uhr
Remote access

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“Ciliates" use ciliary propulsion to displace themselves or the surrounding fluid, where arrays of beating cilia, slender organelles working in unison to induce net flows. 

Natural cilia beat collectively (metachrony) and individually (nonreciprocal motion) in an asymmetric way. Similarly, artificial cilia, inspired by the natural counterparts, are anticipated to play key roles in applications where Reynolds numbers are very small, such as pumps or mixers in microfluidics or viscous fluids.

The artificial cilia here presented consist of elastic inflatable microactuators which operate following soft robotics principles, performing a motion due to the elastic deformation of their own structures. This work uses pneumatically-driven cilia made out of rubbery materials such as PDMS. When inflated, the actuators bend due to the different distribution of material along the cross section, determined by the eccentric position of the inflatable cavity with respect to the symmetry axis of the actuator.