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Issue 46, 2013
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Variable stiffness material based on rigid low-melting-point-alloy microstructures embedded in soft poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS)

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Abstract

Materials with controllable stiffness are of great interest to many fields, including medicine and robotics. In this paper we develop a new type of variable stiffness material based on the combination of a rigid low-melting-point-alloy (LMPA) microstructure embedded in soft poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS). This material can transition between rigid and soft states by controlling the phase of the LMPA through efficient, direct Joule-heating of the LMPA microstructure. The devices tested demonstrate a relative stiffness change of >25× (elastic modulus is 40 MPa when LMPA is solid and 1.5 MPa when LMPA is liquid) and a fast transition from rigid to soft states (<1 s) at low power (<500 mW). Additionally, the material possesses inherent state (soft and rigid) and strain sensing (GF = 0.8) based on resistance changes.

Graphical abstract: Variable stiffness material based on rigid low-melting-point-alloy microstructures embedded in soft poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS)

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Publication details

The article was received on 15 Aug 2013, accepted on 04 Oct 2013 and first published on 16 Oct 2013


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3RA44412K
Citation: RSC Adv., 2013,3, 24671-24679

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    Variable stiffness material based on rigid low-melting-point-alloy microstructures embedded in soft poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS)

    B. E. Schubert and D. Floreano, RSC Adv., 2013, 3, 24671
    DOI: 10.1039/C3RA44412K

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