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Title: Bacteria-inspired magnetically actuated rod-like soft robot in viscous fluids
Abstract This paper seeks to design, develop, and explore the locomotive dynamics and morphological adaptability of a bacteria-inspired rod-like soft robot propelled in highly viscous Newtonian fluids. The soft robots were fabricated as tapered, hollow rod-like soft scaffolds by applying a robust and economic molding technique to a polyacrylamide-based hydrogel polymer. Cylindrical micro-magnets were embedded in both ends of the soft scaffolds, which allowed bending (deformation) and actuation under a uniform rotating magnetic field. We demonstrated that the tapered rod-like soft robot in viscous Newtonian fluids could perform two types of propulsion; boundary rolling was displayed when the soft robot was located near a boundary, and swimming was displayed far away from the boundary. In addition, we performed numerical simulations to understand the swimming propulsion along the rotating axis and the way in which this propulsion is affected by the soft robot’s design, rotation frequency, and fluid viscosity. Our results suggest that a simple geometrical asymmetry enables the rod-like soft robot to perform propulsion in the low Reynolds number ( Re ≪ 1) regime; these promising results provide essential insights into the improvements that must be made to integrate the soft robots into minimally invasive in vivo applications.  more » « less
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Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
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Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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