Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 18, 2010
Previous Article Next Article

Capillary origami controlled by an electric field

Author affiliations


We show experimentally how an electric field can control the folding and unfolding of a thin elastic membrane around a liquid droplet. As the voltage is increased above a critical value the membrane unfolds completely. The transition is reversible, although the structure closes back for a lower critical tension. We propose scaling laws for these critical voltages based on the interaction between surface tension, elastic and electric energies. These scaling laws are in qualitative agreement with experiments and a simplified 2D simulation of the problem, providing a useful tool for designing practical micro-devices actuated by an electric field.

Graphical abstract: Capillary origami controlled by an electric field

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Publication details

The article was received on 18 Feb 2010, accepted on 12 Apr 2010 and first published on 01 Jul 2010

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C0SM00004C
Soft Matter, 2010,6, 4491-4496

  •   Request permissions

    Capillary origami controlled by an electric field

    M. Piñeirua, J. Bico and B. Roman, Soft Matter, 2010, 6, 4491
    DOI: 10.1039/C0SM00004C

Search articles by author