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Issue 15, 2016
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Stimuli-responsive cylindrical hydrogels mimic intestinal peristalsis to propel a solid object

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Abstract

The emerging field of soft robotics relies on soft, stimuli-responsive materials to enable load transport, manipulation, and mobility in complex unconstrained environments. These materials often need to replicate biological functionality such as muscle contractions and flexibility. Here we demonstrate a soft actuator prototype based on thermosensitive PNIPAAM hydrogels that can transport and manipulate objects. A hollow cylindrical hydrogel was selectively heated and cooled with Peltier devices to yield a traveling wave of shrinking and swelling akin to intestinal peristalsis. A 4 mm diameter bead was placed inside the cylinder and propelled 19.5 mm, equal to distance traveled by the peristaltic wave. We derived conditions that enable peristaltic transport as a function of transporter-cargo design parameters. We conclude that hydrogel-based peristaltic manipulators covering 2 orders of magnitude in stiffness (1–102 kPa) could transport cargo spanning 4 orders of magnitude in size (μm–m).

Graphical abstract: Stimuli-responsive cylindrical hydrogels mimic intestinal peristalsis to propel a solid object

  • This article is part of the themed collection: Polymers
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Publication details

The article was received on 14 Oct 2015, accepted on 11 Feb 2016 and first published on 11 Feb 2016


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C5SM02553B
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Citation: Soft Matter, 2016,12, 3582-3588

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    Stimuli-responsive cylindrical hydrogels mimic intestinal peristalsis to propel a solid object

    V. Nistor, J. Cannell, J. Gregory and L. Yeghiazarian, Soft Matter, 2016, 12, 3582
    DOI: 10.1039/C5SM02553B

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