Biomimetic crystalline actuators

Structure-kinematic aspects of the self-actuation and motility of thermosalient crystals

Subash Chandra Sahoo, Manas K. Panda, Naba K. Nath, Pance Naumov

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    While self-actuation and motility are habitual for humans and nonsessile animals, they are hardly intuitive for simple, lifeless, homogeneous objects. Among mechanically responsive materials, the few accidentally discovered examples of crystals that when heated suddenly jump, propelling themselves to distances that can reach thousands of times their own size in less than 1 ms, provide the most impressive display of the conversion of heat into mechanical work. Such thermosalient crystals are biomimetic, nonpolymeric self-actuators par excellence. Yet, due to the exclusivity and incongruity of the phenomenon, as well as because of the unavailability of ready analytical methodology for its characterization, the reasons behind this colossal self-actuation remain unexplained. Aimed at unraveling the mechanistic aspects of the related processes, herein we establish the first systematic assessment of the interplay among the thermodynamic, kinematic, structural, and macroscopic factors driving the thermosalient phenomenon. The collective results are consistent with a latent but very rapid anisotropic unit cell deformation in a two-stage process that ultimately results in crystal explosion, separation of debris, or crystal reshaping. The structural perturbations point to a mechanism similar to phase transitions of the martensitic family.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)12241-12251
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
    Volume135
    Issue number33
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Aug 21 2013

    Fingerprint

    Biomimetics
    Explosions
    Phase Transition
    Thermodynamics
    Biomechanical Phenomena
    Kinematics
    Actuators
    Hot Temperature
    Crystalline materials
    Crystals
    Debris
    Animals
    Phase transitions
    Display devices

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Catalysis
    • Chemistry(all)
    • Biochemistry
    • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

    Cite this

    Biomimetic crystalline actuators : Structure-kinematic aspects of the self-actuation and motility of thermosalient crystals. / Sahoo, Subash Chandra; Panda, Manas K.; Nath, Naba K.; Naumov, Pance.

    In: Journal of the American Chemical Society, Vol. 135, No. 33, 21.08.2013, p. 12241-12251.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Sahoo, Subash Chandra ; Panda, Manas K. ; Nath, Naba K. ; Naumov, Pance. / Biomimetic crystalline actuators : Structure-kinematic aspects of the self-actuation and motility of thermosalient crystals. In: Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2013 ; Vol. 135, No. 33. pp. 12241-12251.
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