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Magnetoactive Soft Materials with Programmable Magnetic Domains for Multifunctional Actuators

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posted on 2023-11-21, 21:04 authored by Jingze Xue, Zhuangzhuang Tian, Xinze Xiao, Chuankai Du, Shichao Niu, Zhiwu Han, Yan Liu
Despite considerable progress having been made in the research of soft actuators, there remains a grand challenge in creating a facile manufacturing process that offers both extensive programmability and exceptional actuation capabilities. Taking inspiration from uncomplicated small organisms, this work aims to develop soft actuators that can be mobilized through straightforward design and control, similar to caterpillars or inchworms. They execute intricate actions and functions to meet survival needs in the most efficient manner possible. Here, a novel soft actuator with uniformly dispersed ferromagnetic microparticles but programmatic magnetic profile distribution is proposed by a convenient magnetization process. Benefiting from its high magnetic sensitivity and good matrix flexibility, the actuator can simultaneously achieve reversible, remote, and fast programmable shape transformation and controllable movement even in a magnetic field as low as 14 Gs. Complemented by intrinsic material properties and structural configuration, actuation employing spatial magnetization profiles can facilitate multiple modes of locomotion when subjected to magnetic fields, allowing for an efficient manipulation task of both solid and liquid media. More importantly, a finite element model is developed to assist in the design of the interaction between the alternating magnetic field and the magnetic torques. This advanced soft actuator would strongly push forward major breakthroughs in key applications such as intelligent sensors, disaster rescue, and wearable devices.

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