Engineering living systems is a rapidly emerging discipline where the functional biohybrid robotics (or “Bio-bots”) are built by integrating of living cells with engineered scaffolds. Inspired by embryonic heart, we presented earlier the first example of a biohybrid valveless pump-bot, an impedance pump, capable of transporting fluids powered by engineered living muscle tissues. The pump consists of a soft tube attached to rigid boundaries at the ends, and a muscle ring that squeezes the tube cyclically at an off-center location. Cyclic contraction results in a net flow through the tube. We observed that muscle force occasionally buckles the tube in a random fashion, i.e., similar muscles do not buckle the tube consistently. In order to explain this anomaly, here we develop an analytical model to predict the deformation and stability of circular elastic tubes subjected to a uniform squeezing force due to a muscle ring (like a taught rubber band). The prediction from the model is validated by comparing with experiments and finite element analysis. The nonlinear model reveals that the circular elastic tube cannot buckle irrespective of muscle force. Buckling state can be reached and sustained by bending and folding the tube before applying the muscle ring. This imperfection may appear during assembly of the pump or from nonuniform thickness of the muscle ring. This study provides design guides for developing advanced biohybrid impedance pumps for diverse applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number111004
JournalJournal of Applied Mechanics, Transactions ASME
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Biohybrid robotics
  • Buckling
  • Mechanics modeling
  • Pump-bot

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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