What is it about?

Iron powder is mixed with a polymer to form a soft material that bends under magnetic fields. A slender beam of this material exhibits bistable behaviors: under a given field, several configurations can exist, allowing sudden shape changes when the systems switches between states. The observations are recovered using a two-particle toy model. A swimming "octopus" is made to illustrate the findings.

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Why is it important?

This paper illustrates a low-cost way to produce a material with a controllable bistable behavior. Such a system could be incorporated in more elaborated structures to achieve certain functions that require actuated soft components.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Magnetoelastic instability in soft thin films, The European Physical Journal E, March 2017, Springer Science + Business Media,
DOI: 10.1140/epje/i2017-11519-3.
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