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Robotic surfaces with tunable stiffness and reversible shape-morphing

Friday, March 12, 2021
3:00pm to 4:00pm
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Chiara Daraio
Chiara Daraio, Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Physics, California Institute of Technology,

Robotic surfaces that can reshape and react to external stimuli offer opportunities to create soft, versatile machines that can multi-task, while interacting safely with their surroundings. Such systems are useful in applications that range from haptic interfaces, wearable exoskeletons and reconfigurable medical supports. Key properties of robotic surfaces include their ability to control their local stiffness, reprogram their target shape and have sufficient mechanical loadbearing ability, to support weights and manipulate objects. In this talk, I will describe recent solutions developed in our group, to create structured fabrics that have tunable bending stiffness and robotic surfaces that allow for large, reprogrammable, and pliable shape morphing into smooth 3D geometries. To develop these solutions, we design layered, architected materials, consisting of interlocking particles or networks of layered, polymeric ribbons. We employ different actuation methods, including vacuum pressure and Joule heating, to control the response of the surfaces. We demonstrate the ability to fabricate fabrics that become >25 times stiffer than their relaxed configuration, when a small external pressure (~93 kPa) is applied. We also show that robotic surfaces consisting of layers of heat responsive liquid crystal elastomers (LCEs) can be reprogrammed to assume arbitrary shapes.

Live Zoom Event: <https://caltech.zoom.us/j/84852988290>

Box Recordings for Caltech: <https://caltech.box.com/s/yscs22k3xqk05s9moxzay7sd8enw5qq4>

For more information, please contact Benjamin Riviere by email at [email protected].