Semi-Crystalline Rubber as a Light-Responsive, Programmable, Resilient Robotic Material

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A1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä
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Advanced Functional Materials, Volume 32, issue 41
Polymers with large and reversible light-induced deformation offer a plethora of opportunities for the wireless control of small-scale soft robots. However, their widespread adoption in real-world applications is hindered, mainly due to their intrinsic softening upon illumination. Such limitation has detrimental effects on the achievable stress, durability, and precise positional control of the soft actuators after multiple cycles of use. Here, a synthetic rubber from a polybutadiene-polyethylene copolymer is reported as a durable material for light-controlled soft robots. The rubber can be programmed to exhibit various deformation modes controlled by visible-to-infrared light through a photothermal effect. Semi-crystallinity of polyethylene within the rubbery network provides this material with a remarkable modulus at high temperatures (2.5 MPa at 100–140 °C), deformation repeatability (>90%) and shape-recovery (>98%) after 100 actuation cycles subject to loads ranging from 10 to 10 000 times of its body weight (1.4 kPa–1.4 MPa). Soft robotic applications are demonstrated, such as thermally-driven jumping and photo-driven cargo transport carrying up to 1200 times its own weight. The results expand the portfolio of materials in designing remotely-controlled, robust, and resilient soft robots working at small scales.
Funding Information: This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (no. U1862206), the Academy of Finland (Academy Postdoc no. 331015, Research Fellow, no. 340263, project no. 324353) H.S. acknowledges the support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC). The authors thank Feng Wang from Qingdao University of Science & Technology for the help in experiment. The work was conducted as part of the Finnish Center of Excellence programme on Life‐Inspired Materials LIBER (no. 346107) and in the framework of the Finnish Flagship programme on Photonics Research and Innovation, PREIN (no. 320165). Publisher Copyright: © 2022 The Authors. Advanced Functional Materials published by Wiley-VCH GmbH.
copolymers, light driven, locomotion, photo-actuations, soft robots, synthetic rubber
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Yang , Q , Shahsavan , H , Deng , Z , Guo , H , Zhang , H , Liu , H , Zhang , C , Priimagi , A , Zhang , X & Zeng , H 2022 , ' Semi-Crystalline Rubber as a Light-Responsive, Programmable, Resilient Robotic Material ' , Advanced Functional Materials , vol. 32 , no. 41 , 2206939 .