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.
Photo by Isabel Galvez on Unsplash
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.
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This page is a summary of: Magnetoelastic instability in soft thin films, The European Physical Journal E, March 2017, Springer Science + Business Media,
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