Self-Flexing Membrane

September 24, 2017

Vapor-responsive artificial skin

Self-Flexing Membrane is a synthetic skin developed by researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces. The membrane is extremely sensitive to solvent vapors and quickly curls in the presence of acetone and other organic solvents. The artificial skin’s response mechanism is reminiscent of biological examples such as the ice plant seed capsule or Venus flytrap. The reactive foil features layered functionality: the top surface is rigid while the bottom can become soft, thus allowing directional curling. Furthermore, the membrane is perforated with tiny pores that enable the film to detect vapor rapidly. The Self-Flexing Membrane has a faster reaction time than other known actuators and is appropriate for use in sensors as well as artificial robotic skin and musculature.

Contact: Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Potsdam, Germany.

For more information, see Transmaterial Next: A Catalog of Materials that Redefine Our Future

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