Ian D. Skip to search form Skip to main content. Computer Science Published in Science and Information…. We describe the current applicability and ongoing potential of novel robots inspired by plants, specifically by tendrils and vines. These robots are capable of "growing" into unpredictable environments, and adhering their bodies to key environmental features in order to provide stability and leverage.
Li, Q. Rights and permissions This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4. Penegration Commun. Optionally place your Golem gem in your Shield instead of Incr. Multiple shape transformations of composite hydrogel sheets. Figure 3: Ultraviolet-induced bending behaviour of penetrafion bilayer LCE ribbons. During near-infrared irradiation, both the Tendril penetration and bottom layers of the bilayer LCE samples would be heated to above their clearing points because of the photo-thermal conversion effect of the Tendril penetration near-infrared dye YHD
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Figure 3 from Biologically inspired vine-like and tendril-like robots - Semantic Scholar
Help us improve our products. Sign up to take part. A Nature Research Journal. In nature, plant tendrils can produce two fundamental motion modes, bending and chiral twisting helical curling distortions, under the stimuli of sunlight, humidity, wetting or other atmospheric conditions. To date, many artificial plant-like mechanical machines have been developed. Although some previously reported materials could realize bending or chiral twisting through tailoring the samples into various ribbons along different orientations, each single ribbon could execute only one deformation mode.
The challenging task is how to endow one individual plant tendril mimic material with two different, fully tunable and reversible motion modes bending and chiral twisting. Here we show a dual-layer, dual-composition polysiloxane-based liquid crystal soft actuator strategy to synthesize a plant tendril mimic material capable of performing two different three-dimensional reversible transformations bending versus chiral twisting through modulation of the wavelength band of light stimuli ultraviolet versus near-infrared.
This material has broad application prospects in biomimetic control devices. In nature, plant tendrils can produce two fundamental motion modes, bending and chiral twisting helical curling distortions, under the stimuli of sunlight, humidity, wetting and other atmospheric conditions 1 , 2 , 3 , 4. These motions are induced by the release of stored elastic energies, which derive from their non-uniform internal structures possessing different oriented layers, rigidities, expansion or swelling properties.
Learned from these biological mechanisms, many artificial plant-like devices have been developed. For example, Smalyukh and colleagues 5 recently reported a method of controlling complex shapes knot, bend, twist and so on of tube-like polymer particles in liquid crystal through varying surface boundary conditions, to generate topological defects.
To fabricate such stimuli-responsive soft actuators, the essential element is to understand and further mimic bending and chiral twisting motions. In particular, azobenzene-incorporated liquid crystalline elastomer LCE materials, can efficiently perform reversible bending deformations relying on the cis — trans isomerization of azobenzene chromophores under ultraviolet irradiation 10 , 11 , 12 , 13 , 14 , Very recently, an incredible sunlight-driven continuous oscillatory bending motion has been realized in a fluorinated azobenzene-embedded LCE material Chiral twisting, as a more complicated 3D deformation motion, is more challenging to manufacture than bending mode and has attracted intense attention.
Another very interesting strategy was demonstrated by Kumacheva and colleagues 32 , 33 , and Broer and colleagues 34 recently. Instead of multi-layer build-up, Kumacheva and colleagues 32 , 33 fabricated a single-layer hydrogel sheet with periodic stripes of different compositions, which exhibited different swelling ratios and elastic moduli under external stimuli, to generate helices. Broer and colleagues 34 developed a versatile method for preparing a variety of humidity-responsive actuators based on a single-layer sheet comprising a hydrogen-bonded, uniaxially aligned LCE network.
However, all the above soft actuator materials were not able to fully mimic a plant tendril, which can realize not only bending but also chiral twisting left-handed and right-handed in one single piece, as shown in Fig. In another word, although some materials could achieve bending and helical curling through tailoring the samples into various ribbons along different orientations 17 , 28 , 29 , 30 , each single ribbon could execute only one deformation mode.
Herein an interesting question arises: is it possible to synthesize a real plant tendril mimic material capable of performing tunable, reversible bending and chiral twisting motions under two different external stimuli? This challenging task is the objective of this work. Herein we describe a dual-layer, dual-composition polysiloxane-based LCE strategy, to fabricate a plant tendril mimic material capable of performing two different 3D transformations bending and chiral twisting through modulation of the wavelength band of light stimuli.
Inspired by all the above landmark works, we rely on the photo-deformable and stimuli-responsive 3D liquid crystal soft actuator system 35 , 36 , 37 , 38 , 39 , design and synthesize a plant tendril mimic material comprised of a dual-layer, dual-composition polysiloxane-based LCE structure, as schematically illustrated in Fig.
The top layer, also assigned as the main skeleton, possesses a uniaxially aligned LCE matrix incorporated with azobenzene chromophores and a near-infrared absorbing dye, so that the main skeleton of this material can execute bending under ultraviolet stimulus and shrinking under near-infrared stimulus 40 because of the azobenzene cis — trans isomerization effect and the photothermal heating effect 21 , 41 , 42 , 43 , 44 , 45 , 46 , 47 , 48 , which would induce the LC-to-isotropic phase transition, respectively, whereas the bottom monodomain LCE layer, which was obliquely glued on the main skeleton, has no azobenzene moieties but the near-infrared dye, so that it can only respond to near-infrared stimulus, and contributed a twisting power for the whole material to helically curl, because the shrinkage directions of the top and bottom layer are tilted to each other.
Overall, such a plant tendril mimic material will bend under ultraviolet illumination and helically curl towards near-infrared irradiation.
Most importantly, these two motions of this LCE soft actuator are fully reversible. As shown in Fig. Specifically, two mixtures Formula 1 and 2 composed of the above reagents dissolved in toluene were cast into two polytetrafluoroethylene PTFE rectangular moulds 2. Finally, the dual-layer film was further trimmed along the stretching direction of the top layer, into ribbons with a dimension of ca. Compared with the previous methods for synthesizing helical curling materials 17 , 28 , 29 , 30 , 34 , this preparation protocol has two technical advantages: first, unlike the classical LC-cell-alignment procedure, which usually prepared very thin films due to the limitation of cell thickness ca.
Second, taking advantage of Finkelmann 51 , 52 two-step crosslinking mechanism, the two different pre-crosslinked LCE samples could be spontaneously glued together during the second hydrosilylation crosslinking period, without using extra adhesives In Fig. Encouraged by the optical absorption results, we applied ultraviolet light and near-infrared light sources respectively, to investigate the photo-responsive actuation behaviours of the bilayer LCE ribbons at room temperature.
If the LCE ribbon was turned upside down and exposed to ultraviolet light Fig. Under irradiation, the ribbons seemed not very photo-sensitive and remained almost motionless in the first 1. Supplementary Movies 1—3 show these scenarios in motion. The error bars indicate the standard deviation of the measured angles.
The error bars indicate the standard deviation of the bending curvature calculated from the included angle data. As previously explained in literatures 10 , 13 , 15 , such a bending scenario was induced by the fact that the cis — trans isomerization extent of azobenzene chromophores would vary depending on the ultraviolet-penetration depth so that the top surface region of LCE sample would shrink much more than the bottom region.
These different contraction ratios of the top and bottom sides of LCE sample eventually forced the macroscopic material to bend towards the ultraviolet source. Consequently, the two-layer-overlapped region of the LCE film kept motionless. After removing near-infrared source, the bilayer ribbons fully recover their original shapes. Supplementary Movies 4 and 5 show these scenarios in motion. The error bars shown in c and d represent the standard deviation of the measured surface temperature data of two bilayer LCE samples.
During near-infrared irradiation, both the top and bottom layers of the bilayer LCE samples would be heated to above their clearing points because of the photo-thermal conversion effect of the embedded near-infrared dye YHD Such a non-uniform shrinkages created an incompatibility in the two-layer-overlapped region.
Along each of their own alignment directions, the top and bottom layers had different contraction ratios, which resulted in two bending tendencies along the two alignment directions. The vector sum of the two bending deformations made an inclined angle with the long axis of the LCE ribbon, and eventually generated a chiral twisting power to force the macroscopically flat ribbon to curl in either right-handed or left-handed manner. In addition to the above samples, which did curl selectively in the two-layer-overlapped regions, we further prepared an LCE actuator whose top layer was of the same size as the bottom layer, as schematically illustrated in Fig.
Such a same-sized-bilayer sample could not only bend under ultraviolet irradiation Fig. Supplementary Movies 6 and 7 show the reversible ultraviolet-induced bending and near-infrared-induced curling behaviours, respectively.
Supplementary Movies 6 and 7 show these scenarios in motion. Here we demonstrate that through varying the chemical compositions of some hierarchical layers of soft actuators, these chemically different layers are capable of responding to different stimuli and the macroscopic materials might consequently be able to perform multiple shape deformations, which can be efficiently tuned by these different stimuli.
Moreover, this polysiloxane-based LCE system exhibits one extraordinary advantage in building multilayer hierarchical structures. We hope that these findings can pave the way for developing multi-stimuli responsive materials.
In conclusion, we developed a dual-layer, dual-composition polysiloxane-based LCE strategy to mimic an individual plant tendril, which could perform not only bending but also chiral twisting left-handed and right-handed.
The fundamental logic of this design is to make good use of the gap between the first pre-crosslinking and second full-crosslinking stages, to build up a multi-layer, multi-orientation, multi-composition LCE structure, to achieve the desired multi-stimuli responsive function. These soft actuator materials are capable of performing two different reversible 3D transformations bending versus chiral twisting under irradiations of two light sources with different wavelength ranges ultraviolet versus near-infrared , which might have potential applications in control devices and biomimetic devices, and so on.
All the starting reagents and instrumentation are described in Supplementary Methods. Seven short movies showing the photo-stimulated motions of LCE ribbons are recorded in Supplementary Movies 1—7. PMHS The mixture solution was cast into a PTFE rectangular mould 2. After cooling to room temperature, the LCE sample was carefully removed from the PTFE mould with the help of hexanes and then immediately cut into a strip 2.
The mixture was cast into a PTFE rectangular mould 2. Data supporting the findings of this study are available within the article and its Supplementary Information files and from the corresponding author upon request. How to cite this article: Wang, M.
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