Abstract

Motivated by the self-assembly of natural systems, researchers have investigated the stimulus-responsive curving of thin-shell structures, which is also known as self-folding. Self-folding strategies not only offer possibilities to realize complicated shapes but also promise actuation at small length scales. Biaxial mismatch strain driven self-folding bilayers demonstrate bifurcation of equilibrium shapes (from quasi-axisymmetric doubly curved to approximately singly curved) during their stimulus-responsive morphing behavior. Being a structurally instable, bifurcation could be used to tune the self-folding behavior, and hence, a detailed understanding of this phenomenon is appealing from both fundamental and practical perspectives. In this work, we investigated the bifurcation behavior of self-folding bilayer polygons. For the mechanistic understanding, we developed finite element models of planar bilayers (consisting of a stimulus-responsive and a passive layer of material) that transform into 3D curved configurations. Our experiments with cross-linked Polydimethylsiloxane samples that change shapes in organic solvents confirmed our model predictions. Finally, we explored a design scheme to generate gripper-like architectures by avoiding the bifurcation of stimulus-responsive bilayers. Our research contributes to the broad field of self-assembly as the findings could motivate functional devices across multiple disciplines such as robotics, artificial muscles, therapeutic cargos, and reconfigurable biomedical devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104101
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Volume111
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 4 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)

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