February 7, 2023

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New material … hopping like a grasshopper

US engineers from CU Boulder designed a new one Material, A rubber-like film that can jump high into the air like a grasshopper on its own and without the need for outside intervention. Just…heat it up and you can watch it jump!

The researchers describe their achievement in the journal Science advances On January 18th. They say similar materials could one day be incorporated into “soft robots” (those that don’t need gears or other hard components to move) that can jump or stand.

The researchers, led by Timothy White of the University of Colorado Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and Dr. Taylor Hebner of the University of Oregon, report that the new synthetic material mimics nature in that it reacts somewhat like grasshoppers that hop because they have stored energy…at their feet, which they suddenly release.

Material properties and thermomechanical response

In nature, as many adaptations as its stem locust They use stored energy, like an elastic instability, White said. “We are trying to make synthetic materials that mimic these natural properties,” he noted.

The material belongs to the class of flexible liquid crystals, which are a rigid version of liquid crystals in screens. As the membrane of the new material heats up, thus accumulating energy, it begins to flex, forming a cone that suddenly vibrates within milliseconds to a height 200 times its thickness. The same movie can then be jumped multiple times.

Watch the video from the footage … the grasshopper

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