JAN 24, 2019 11:07 PM PST

3D-Printed Soft Mesh Robots

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Scientists have developed a 3D-printed flexible mesh robots that can be controlled via magnetics while floating on water. "This research shows capabilities in the emerging field of combining 3D printing and soft robotics," says Orlin Velev, S. Frank and Doris Culberson Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at North Carolina State University.

The structures were developed from "homocomposite thixotropic paste" derived from silicone microbeads and bound by liquid silicone that is enclosed in water. "This self-reinforced paste allows us to create structures that are ultra-soft and flexible," says Ph.D student and first author, Sangchul Roh.

The “paste” can be easily squeezed out like toothpaste but instead maintains its shape without dripping. The researchers then used a 3D printer to shape into mesh-like patterns before being shaped into flexible silicone structures that can be stretched and collapsed by the application of magnetic fields. The have properties that can allow them to be used while floating on water.

"Embedding of iron carbonyl particles, which are widely available and have a high magnetization, allows us to impart a strong response to magnetic field gradients," says Joseph Tracy, professor of materials science and engineering and a senior co-investigator.

credit: ncsu.edu

Results of the study were published in a special issue of Advanced Materials Technologies, where researchers indicated that the reconfigurable a structures is capable of “grabbing” a tiny ball of aluminum foil and "carrying" a single water droplet before releasing it through the mesh. "The structures are also auxetic, which means that they can expand and contract in all directions," Velev said. "With 3D printing, we can control the shape before and after the application of the magnetic field. For now, this is an early stage proof-of-concept for a soft robotic actuator.”

Source: North Carolina State University

About the Author
  • Nouran earned her BS and MS in Biology at IUPUI and currently shares her love of science by teaching. She enjoys writing on various topics as well including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
MAY 24, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Here's Why SpaceX is Using Heavy Stainless Steel to Make Starship
MAY 24, 2020
Here's Why SpaceX is Using Heavy Stainless Steel to Make Starship
SpaceX is perhaps best known for its reusable Falcon 9 rocket, the same variety that will be lofting astronauts into out ...
MAY 31, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
Using Nanomachines to Track the Physics of a Cell's Trajectory
MAY 31, 2020
Using Nanomachines to Track the Physics of a Cell's Trajectory
Cells are full of a huge variety of structures and molecules that all work together, but many techniques will only allow ...
JUN 15, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
3D-printed bio-ink prints tissues inside the body
JUN 15, 2020
3D-printed bio-ink prints tissues inside the body
Imagine this: 3D-printed body parts that are printed directly in the body. Sounds far out, right? But new research from ...
JUN 14, 2020
Technology
Hologram Technology To Ablate Liver Tumors
JUN 14, 2020
Hologram Technology To Ablate Liver Tumors
Augmented reality has been used for clinical studies and data suggests it can be effectively used for liver cancer thera ...
JUL 10, 2020
Technology
Why the Law Needs Open Access Data?
JUL 10, 2020
Why the Law Needs Open Access Data?
Researchers at Northwestern University believe that a fair justice system needs open access data that is not hidden behi ...
JUL 22, 2020
Technology
Software Capabilities for Self-Driving Cars
JUL 22, 2020
Software Capabilities for Self-Driving Cars
Self-driving (autonomous) cars have already hit the road. The software capability of these cars, especially those that r ...
Loading Comments...