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Mechanical Adaptability of Artificial Muscles from Nanoscale Molecular Action

preprint
submitted on 21.05.2019, 14:29 and posted on 22.05.2019, 15:23 by Federico Lancia, Alexander Ryabchun, Anne-Déborah Nguindjel, Supaporn Kwangmettatam, Nathalie Katsonis
The cooperative operation of artificial molecular motors and switches has been amplified in polymer-based approaches that have led to versatile motion at the macroscale. As these active, shape-shifting polymers have become ever more sophisticated in their morphing capabilities, a major remaining challenge is to encode muscle-like mechanical adaptability during their operation and to explore its molecular origin. Here, we describe the mechanical adaptability of materials in which the light-induced action of molecular switches modifies the intrinsic interfacial tension, in a phase heterogeneous design featuring a liquid crystal polymer network swollen by a liquid crystal. When the swelling creates sufficient interfacial tension, light triggers an unprecedented and reversible photo-stiffening, analogous to myosin-powered muscle fibers. These mechanoadaptive materials adjust their stiffness to the task they must perform, also while they move, and display muscle-like behaviour that might contribute significantly to the development of human-friendly and soft robotics.

Funding

FOM Grant 13PR3105

ERC Consolidator Grant 772564

History

Email Address of Submitting Author

n.h.katsonis@utwente.nl

Institution

University of Twente

Country

The Netherlands

ORCID For Submitting Author

0000-0003-1054-6544

Declaration of Conflict of Interest

No conflict of interest

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