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Propulsion of swimming microrobots inspired by metachronal waves in ciliates: from biology to material specifications
Ist Italiano Tecnol, Italy .
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biosensors and Bioelectronics. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
Ist Italiano Tecnol, Italy .
Ist Italiano Tecnol, Italy .
2013 (English)In: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics, ISSN 1748-3182, Vol. 8, no 4, 046004- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The quest for swimming microrobots originates from possible applications in medicine, especially involving navigation in bodily fluids. Swimming microorganisms have become a source of inspiration because their propulsion mechanisms are effective in the low-Reynolds number regime. In this study, we address a propulsion mechanism inspired by metachronal waves, i.e. the spontaneous coordination of cilia leading to the fast swimming of ciliates. We analyse the biological mechanism (referring to its particular embodiment in Paramecium caudatum), and we investigate the contribution of its main features to the swimming performance, through a three-dimensional finite-elements model, in order to develop a simplified, yet effective artificial design. We propose a bioinspired propulsion mechanism for a swimming microrobot based on a continuous cylindrical electroactive surface exhibiting perpendicular wave deformations travelling longitudinally along its main axis. The simplified propulsion mechanism is conceived specifically for microrobots that embed a micro-actuation system capable of executing the bioinspired propulsion (self-propelled microrobots). Among the available electroactive polymers, we select polypyrrole as the possible actuation material and we assess it for this particular embodiment. The results are used to appoint target performance specifications for the development of improved or new electroactive materials to attain metachronal-waves-like propulsion.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institute of Physics: Hybrid Open Access , 2013. Vol. 8, no 4, 046004- p.
National Category
Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-102772DOI: 10.1088/1748-3182/8/4/046004ISI: 000327777300013OAI: diva2:683908
Available from: 2014-01-07 Created: 2013-12-26 Last updated: 2014-01-15

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