Researchers have developed an ionic web that can grab objects 68 times heavier than their own mass and self-clean.
Spiders weave their flexible webs in a specific pattern that allows them to feel the smallest vibrations and easily remove adhered particles. Based on the architecture of this natural structure, scientists from Seoul National University have created its synthetic analogue..
The constructed ionic web is actually a flexible robot consisting of a weave of elastic silicone rubber tubes filled with an ionic conductive organic gel. Under the influence of a high voltage current, the network generates an electric field, polarizing the surrounding objects and creating an effect of electrostatic adhesion, due to which the spider web can capture polymers, metals and organic materials.
Ionic web invented that could break through in flexible robotics
Such a network can stretch three times in comparison with the initial state without damaging the structure and capture objects, the mass of which is 68 times its own. To save energy and optimize performance, the system initiates adhesion only in the immediate vicinity of a third-party object.
In addition, the ionic web can independently clean its surface using electrostatic vibration, that is, it uses electricity to create alternating forces of attraction and repulsion between the threads..
According to the developers, such a structure can be used in various applications of flexible robotics, including e-skin and artificial muscles..
Earlier, we also reported on the development of a battery so durable that it can be used to make structural elements of robots..
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: Seoul National University